A year and a half after the earthquake in Haiti the tent cities are everywhere. The Cholera epidemic is worse than last year, and there is little construction to be seen. There are expensive white Range Rovers and Land Cruisers driving everywhere with the logos of every aid organization imaginable driving around at $5.00/gallon but what are they doing?
My mind has been on Haiti quite a bit lately. I'm working on ideas for another trip there, figuring out a project I can do there with photography and some children, as well as creative ideas for funding that trip. I'll keep the details to myself till they're a bit more solid, but I'll let it be the inspiration for today's piece.
What do I mean when I say moving forward while looking back? Well moving forward is obvious - a lot of work needs to be done to put the pieces back together there and it's going to take a lot of effort from a lot of people. First the earthquake, then cholera, brought in by people that were trying to help and now the political system in disarray (again). We have to remember that the brunt of this responsibility lies with the Haitian people themselves, supported, encouraged and funded when necessary by people in a better place. The idea that "we", the "developed" nations are going to "pull these poor people out of their misery" and "save" them belongs in another century and was founded out of a combination of missionary values and colonial guilt. But whoever does it, however it's done, it's clear that there's a lot of work ahead. Not only do buildings need to be rebuilt, hope does as well.
On February 05, 2010 I had the honor of being invited by my friend, client and colleague Mike Jean to photograph the Hope for Haiti fundraiser at Amnesia in NYC. All funds raised that night went to the Red Cross towards their efforts helping earthquake victims in Haiti. It was hosted by Mike Jean, Ally Hilfiger and Valerio St. Louis and featured musical performances by Jennifer Logue, Sean Murphy, Michael Fredo, Karen Anderson, Ashte, Carimi, Shoubou From Tabou Combo, Andy Hilfiger and more.
Here are some highlights from the event:
I want to say something others haven't yet, but I'm not sure I can, being that I am not there. I have heard little from my connections there since the phones are down. All I can do at the moment is work to find a way to get down there and help, and hope that happens soon enough to really make a difference.