**WARNING: This is a very graphic post. If you don’t want to see these pictures, click “categories” on the menu bar and select from a category which you wish to view**
To date, I have been to 27 countries. When I think of each of those countries, the first thing that usually comes to mind is a little tidbit of the unique beauty and charm of each of those places. However, when I think of Haiti, a few different images come to mind.
…among a few other synonyms.
Before I went to Haiti, I tried to prepare myself for what I would see and experience. I have been to a number of poverty-stricken third world countries, and although they are unique in their own way, they really were not THAT different from one another. I expected Haiti to be similar. And I was wrong. Very, very wrong. In all my traveling, I have never been to a country so filthy, so congested, so polluted, and so hopeless. As we drove through the streets of Port au Prince, we breathed in nothing but the smell of exhaust and pollution. There were small children roaming the streets freely, without any adult supervision. People were sitting inside homes that were cracked and half fallen apart, jobless and likely starving.
Human beings. Living, breathing people. And this is all they know. Many of them have never seen a flushing toilet, taken a real shower, or have eaten a proper meal.
One of our team members commented on the flight home that the only way to properly describe Haiti is “Hell’s waiting room.” If hell had a waiting room and you were to visualize what it looked like, I think it would very closely resemble the current condition of Haiti.
When you experience this first hand and see people living like this, it changes something inside of you. It challenges you to live your life differently, to appreciate the little things in life. It compels you to do more than just live life looking out for yourself. And it empowers you to make a difference.
I hope that these photos give you a glimpse into the lives of the Haitian people. I hope the images tug at your heart strings. I hope that for a brief moment today, you take a second and thank God for how He has blessed you. If you have clean water, then you are more fortunate than 8 million people in Haiti. If you have a roof over your head, then you are safer than 2 million people in Haiti. Take the time today to thank God for blessing you. And challenge yourself for a second to live your life for more than just your own good.
The Presidential Palace
Men bathing in sewage water on the sides of the streets because they no longer have homes with bathrooms.
Tent cities were constructed all over the place – in parks, on road medians, wherever there was a free space. These tent cities are so dangerous that even the UN and NGO’s won’t go into them. They leave food an water on the perimeter of the tent cities. Inside these tent cities, women and children are getting gang raped, and people are constantly stealing from one another.
Notice the women selling items UNDER that wall that is completely caving in. A minor aftershock will be the last straw for a wall like that, potentially killing everyone underneath it. There were at least 15 women along the wall, selling fruits and vegetables.
There was garbage everywhere, and pigs rummaging through it. Often times there were children playing in the same piles of trash, because they had no other place to play.
Of all the images, this one is the most powerful for me. Sums up a lot.
This was a school in which 250 children were killed. Bystanders said that for a few days afterward you could hearing the children screaming. They were all wounded and trapped. Dogs, rats and pigs were able to get in there and were eating the children and teachers alive. Witnesses said that you could hear them screaming “We are being eaten by rats”, but nobody could do anything about it.
Everywhere we went, there were just PILES of trash laying around. Some had been lit on fire, and some were just left there to rot.
The department of finance – completely destroyed. Also leveled was the department of foreign affairs, and the justice department.
All forms of life are suffering.
People bathing on the bank of a stream on the outskirts of a tent city on Leogane.
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