Revisiting Haiti – One Year Later
Today is January 12, 2011, one year after the devastating earthquake that destroyed Haiti, leaving over 1.5 million people homeless. In all this tragedy, there exists a beacon of hope and joy at Zanmi Beni.
We first visited Zanmi Beni in November, located just outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After one day we were anxious to return with some gifts and goodies for the kids. Alina designated herself the “Ambassador of Fun” and we were all looking forward to returning to the home to visit our new friends of all ages.
With a few special requests for hair bows and undies, we loaded our oversized duffle bags with toys, toys, and more toys! Alina purchased many of these a few weeks prior, including soccer balls and a goal, a Little Tykes car and basketball goal, Barbies, and more. Additional toys were donated by our good friend, Javier Maudet, a dedicated volunteer at Miami Children’s Hospital. He graciously donated a portion of his collection to our efforts including Barbies, baby dolls, puzzles, games, and crafts. Our three extra-large duffle bags were filled to the brim!
While we were very excited to make the trip just for one day, but it didn’t start off very well. MIA was had lines longer than the Christmas theme park! It was only 6:30am, what in the world was going on? We had parking trouble, luggage issues, and the staff at AA seemed as if they hoped we wouldn’t make the flight. But we made it with zero minutes to spare, and that’s all that matters.
We met our travel buddies on the plane, Laurie and Genevieve. The flight was smooth and we arrived in just a couple of hours. We were met by our wonderful host and the leader of Zanmi Beni, the wonderful Loune. Loune is the head of the home and all the children call her “Maman.” She greeted us with open arms and told us the kids we met knew we were coming and were very excited! So many of the children are special to us. And it was great to be remembered!
Patrick, Ogeline, Carl, Rose, Natasha, Marcus, Davidson, Esmane, Stella, Johanne, Andresea, and more, they are have all made a special place in our hearts. It is because of the earthquake that they have come together to form their own, unique, extended family. Evans, one of the workers at the home, spoke to Alina about his role at the home and what keeps him motivated in his work in this exclusive interview. Click here to watch the video.
While these children have the basics – healthcare, nutrition, a roof over their heads, there is still more to be done at Zanmi Beni. While they have been blessed with donations from groups like Operation Blessing to build out a new living quarters (with 30 bedrooms!) and donated an industrial-sized washer and dryer, there is still a great need to build a new kitchen/bakery. The home feeds over 122 people per day including children and staff and the need to be self-sustaining is great. For some of the staff, that is their only meal of the day. The kitchen/bakery is the last need for the home which already has a chicken coop for chicken and eggs, a vegetable and fruit garden, and most recently a fish farm.
Peace Love World is committed to helping Zamni Beni raise the funds required to building the new kitchen/bakery. While this is no easy task, we are excited to soon launch our new One World One Love t-shirt and announce a special event in the coming months. Stay tuned for more information!
To see our new photos from this trip, click below.