Friday, September 26, 2008

Haiti is in ruins by Marleine Bastien


BY Marleine Bastien, South Florida Times, September 26, 2008

Tande se Youn- We se de.

That’s Creole for the saying, “Hearing it is one thing, seeing it is another.’’

I arrived in Haiti last Friday with a big delegation of city officials, Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, North Miami City Councilman Jacques Despinosse, state Rep. Yolly Roberson, community activists and city employees with a sense of purpose.
First step: Cite Soleil. Within a New York minute, we were surrounded by an army of men, children and women, including pregnant women.
Marie wanted us to see her still inundated one-room house. Her earthly possessions were meager. A makeshift bed supported by four blocks and flattened carton boxes served as a mattress. She had a few rags. The family’s only clothes were the bedcovers.
In the middle of the bed lay a very small, 6-day-old baby. She was born at term, but she looked so tiny. She could have been mistaken for a doll. Her name is Denise. She cried a very weak, barely audible cry. She had not had anything to eat all day. It was 4 o’clock. Her mother was so malnourished that her breast milk had dried up.