This is Haiti:
I've had this picture in my head all day today as I thought about what the devastation could possibly be like in Haiti. I just can't image any of those homes are still intact after a 7.0 earthquake. I took this shot a little over a year ago while visiting the offices of Compassion International with Student Life. I've been to 7 different countries outside the United States in my lifetime and every single one of them are considered 3rd world nations. Of those 7, Haiti is by far the most shocking and devastating. As far as we drove, in any direction, there was simply no escape from the poverty.
Now, I'm not writing this to talk about my experiences in Haiti, or to showcase my photography. I'm writing this post to show you Haiti. To help you understand. To make sure you're not just watching the news and saying to yourself "I feel so bad for those people over there" and letting it end there. I realize how difficult it can be to understand what it's like in these 3rd world nations without seeing it. That's what's great about photography, it can inform.
The shots above are what I remember most about Haiti. Wall-to-wall people and shacks as far as the eye can see. The poverty there is absolutely overwhelming and it terrifies me to think about what it must have been like to be amongst the crowds of people when the earthquake started.
Here are some of the facts about the country of Haiti:
- Over 80% of Haiti lives in poverty, making it the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
- The majority of Haitians live without electricity or clean water.
- Over 66% get no work, and those who do work earn the equivalent of about $2 a day.
- Over 60% of the country lacks basic health care.
- Only about 4% of the land is in forest, compared to 30% of US land, meaning Haiti relies on imports just to feed its people. Currently the land in Haiti is only capable of providing for about 40% of the population.
- Extreme weather conditions further threaten the land, with torrential rains during hurricane season racing down deforested mountains and destroying fields, roads and homes.
- Haiti also has the highest infant, under-five and maternal mortality rates in the western hemisphere.
- In 2008, hurricanes claimed the lives of over 800 citizens, and the mudslides produced have put most without clean water.
And if all that weren't enough, they were just hit with the worst earthquake in the Caribbean in over 200 years.
It's time for the Church to be the Church. Please pray for Haiti and consider donating here