Field visits

The importance of livestock

November 28, 2011
by 
Kelly Di Domenico, Communications Officer

We have been in the warm and welcoming company of the Harar Catholic Secretariat the last few days. In Ethiopia, there is always reference to the highlands and the lowlands. The lowlands are the deep valleys that wind their way through the many mountain chains here, while the highlands encompass the villages that crawl up towards the peaks. We are heading to the highlands today, climbing higher and higher along the way. The arid air gives little life to the land. The terraced slopes look dry and sparse.

Reaching the most vulnerable

November 29, 2011
by 
Kelly Di Domenico, Communications Officer
Photo: Neal Deles/Caritas Ethiopia

After more than 10 days in Ethiopia and visiting many corners of the country, I am taken by the extent of the work of the Catholic Church here. There may not be a very large Catholic population in Ethiopia (0.7%) yet the magnitude of what is being done by the Church is impressive. There is a true dedication to serve the poor and marginalized that seems unwavering. Each diocese has its own Catholic Secretariat, which runs a plethora of programs that address a wide range of issues: health, nutrition, education, gender, food security, water and sanitation, and the list goes on.

Last day in Djibouti

November 30, 2011
by 
Kelly Di Domenico, Communications Officer

Stepping off the plane in Djibouti, the heat smacks hard and the salty smell of the sea fills the air. It is much hotter here than in Ethiopia, where the high altitude makes the strong African sun more bearable. Djibouti was the last stop on our trip and we went there to meet with Bishop Giorgio Bertin, who is Bishop of Djibouti and Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu, Somalia, as well as the President of both Caritas Somalia and Caritas Djibouti.

Plants of Self-Esteem

December 19, 2011
by 
François Gloutnay, Communications officer

On the porch of the Fanm Deside house in Jacmel, Medjine Adonis, whom we met yesterday, was awaiting the return of the members of the delegation from their day of field visits in the countryside. Speaking to the Most Reverend Richard Smith, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, this woman who has been living in a tent in a camp since January 12, 2010, said: “Your Excellency, pray for us.” And the Archbishop of Edmonton replied, "And you, madam, pray for us!"

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From Montreal to Jacmel

December 18, 2011
by 
François Gloutnay, Communications officer

"I've been living in tents since January 12, 2010," says Medjine Adonis. "Fortunately, Fanm Deside is there to help us." Services are rudimentary in these makeshift camps. These little canvas houses don't have a door. Consequence: constant insecurity. Theft and rape are commonplace. And there are injured women who have been victims of sexual violence coming to Fanm Deside in Jacmel every day.

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In the Highlands

December 17, 2011
by 
François Gloutnay, Communications officer

Today we're in Duval, a remote village an hour from the capital. There are 34 houses here that were built with subsidies from Caritas. The house of Marie-Rose Kébreau is sandwiched between two buildings. To the right is what remains of the house she occupied before the 2010 earthquake. On the left is the makeshift temporary house she built out of sheet metal and wood.

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Flower Gardens

December 17, 2011
by 
Most Rev. Richard Smith, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Up into the mountains today just outside of Port-au-Prince. The goal was to visit some of the projects of the Port-au-Prince bureau of Caritas Haiti which are supported by Development and Peace. We spent hours on steep and unbelievably rough mountain roads, largely washed away by the deluges of the rainy seasons. (Someone remind me NEVER AGAIN to complain about the quality of Edmonton streets!)

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Restavèk

December 16, 2011
by 
François Gloutnay, Communications officer

The place where Father Miguel Jean Baptiste asks us to meet him doesn't exactly inspire complete confidence. There can be no doubt that this building was heavily damaged during the earthquake of January 12, 2010. From the street, we can see that the roof on the right side has been twisted and that there are stones missing.

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Giving Children a Childhood

December 15, 2011
by 
Most Rev. Richard Smith, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

We returned this morning from Hinch to Port-au-Prince. Words simply cannot describe the squalor in which thousands upon thousands are striving to live in this city. Yet words are even more inadequate in the face of the interior devastation wreaked upon thousands of children who are referred to as the "restavek". This is creole for the French "reste avec" (stay with). It refers to the terrible reality of what amounts to human trafficking. Families in the city "acquire", through intermediaries, children of the country to do domestic work in their homes.

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Houses of Hope

December 15, 2011
by 
François Gloutnay, Communications officer

"It was no good living on the street with young children," says the young father we meet in the model village initiated by Mouvman Peyizan Papay (Papaye Peasants' Movement), a longstanding partner of Development and Peace.

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