We touched down in Port-au-Prince just yesterday, and already there is more to tell you all than I can hope to put in one blog entry. What updates we can provide here will give you just a glimpse of all that, but I want to share as much as possible of what is happening – and “virtually” bring you on this trip with us.
We have met with our sister organization KOFAVIV, and we have witnessed the incredible work that they do. Just this afternoon, I walked into a courtyard filled with young girls, and none seemed older than 14. Many lost their families in the earthquake and struggle to survive in the displacement camps. Many have been raped. Through KOFAVIV, they have a safe place to gather, to make friends and to learn about their human rights. Today, the girls were learning how to make tie-dyed t-shirts and beaded jewelry. As I greeted them, they smiled up at me and, giggling with each other, returned to huddling over the small beads in their hands.
This trip has special meaning for me. I became the Executive Director of MADRE just a few weeks ago, and this is my first chance to visit one of our sister organizations in this new role. I’ve already told you how excited I am to deepen our relationships with our sister organizations—and this is just a first step.
It’s also my first time in Haiti, but that’s not what it feels like. After years of working with our sister organizations in Haiti and after countless conversations, it all feels very familiar to me. When I see the woman washing her clothes at the edge of a sprawling tent city, I can remember Eramithe’s voice (KOFAVIV’s co-founder) telling me about the hundreds of KOFAVIV members living in the displacement camps. When I see groups of smiling little girls in clean and pressed school uniforms marching down the street, I can hear her telling me about how much mothers sacrifice to be able to send their daughters to school.
These images stay with me. As the week progresses, I want to keep sharing them with you. I am here with Diana Duarte, MADRE’s Communications Director, so we will work together to send you updates. Keep checking back these next few days for our posts from Haiti:
MADRE’s Blog: myMADRE: www.madre.org/mymadre
MADRE’s Twitter: @MADREspeaks: www.twitter.com/madrespeaks
Twitter: @yifats (MADRE’s Executive Director): www.twitter.com/yifats
Twitter: @ddpduarte (MADRE’s Communications Director): www.twitter.com/ddpduarte