Haiti

A Tent Cathedral and a Forest Nursery

December 19, 2011
by 
Most Rev. Richard Smith, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

A once magnificent building that now stands in ruins. Next to it a number of tents under which the people now gather to celebrate the Eucharist. This is what I discovered when I celebrated Mass at the "cathedral" on Sunday at the invitation of the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Most Reverend Guire Poulard. The cathedral was totally destroyed by the earthquake, as were adjacent Caritas and diocesan offices. The Archbishop most graciously invited me to preside at the Mass with his people, during which Archbishop Durocher preached a wonderful homily on the virtue of hope.

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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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Reconstruction art

December 14, 2011
by 
François Gloutnay, Communications officer

Walgens Pierre Jean and Patrick Lafontant, two young Haitian painters, have good reason to be  proud. Their works, large paintings on the theme of reconstruction, are currently on display at the Musée du Pantheon National Museum in Port-au-Prince.

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Preparation

December 13, 2011
by 
François Gloutnay, Communications officer

We had the first meeting of the members of this solidarity mission to Haiti in which leaders of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and Development and Peace will be participating (see December 7 Press Release) in Montreal.

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