New York Photographer Back To Haiti
By Michael Boyajian
Upon his arrival this week in Haiti New York photographer Kevin C. Downs was greeted by the surreal spectacle of Spike Lee and his film crew in the Port Of Prince airport. Things had certainly changed from when Downs had first been to Haiti soon after the quake had hit that beleaguered country when the people were in total despair and everything was in ruins.
Downs reports this time that there are some slow signs of improvement from his first trip there but still the poor nation has a long way to go before it goes back to the sort of lifestyle it once knew. There are heavy amounts of rainfall and tents still fill the streets. Yet, with all this anguish, Downs notes that the children still manage to greet you with a smile. Many believe that children are the best indicator of the health of a society and perhaps that is the case here or maybe it just shows the resilience of a people so underestimated in the eyes of the world or maybe that those helping out there have made a difference for a people who refuse to break under the pressure of adversity time and time again.
Downs goes onto say that the NGOs are doing what they can but Haiti still has a long way to go before it can join the family of 21st Century nations. However bad things were before the quake they have now gotten worse despite the aid they received and the hope that aid brings to their daily lives.
Downs says that the water supply is good, bottle water is everywhere and the NGOs are purifying large amounts of water daily. This is no small accomplishment for a nation dependent on rain water. He also says that food supplies are plentiful in the cities but people are still without much food in the dreaded camps.
Downs ends by saying that crime is rising and there have even been a few kidnappings of NGOs in Port of Prince perhaps being a sign of the underlying weakness of what was already a weak society before the quake. Yet the people still have hope, help is still coming in and hope does rule eternal even in this an almost forgotten land now in the news shadow of the BP oil spill.