Counting your blessings in Haiti

February 12, 2010 6:54:28 PM PST
ABC11 Anchor Larry Stogner, Digital Journalist Mat Mendez and Photojournalist Dave Anderson blog from Haiti, while embedded with the 82nd Airborne. 02/07/10: "Counting your blessings, when there's so little else to count"

By: Mat Mendez

Like in most parts of the world, Sunday is a unique day in Haiti.

This is a very religious culture. And as such, whether there's a building to do it in or not, that means it's time to go to church.

It is such an intriguing thing to process. All over Port-au-Prince, we saw preachers in well-pressed suits amidst the rubble of what used to be their churches.

And all around them were full congregations. Most were sitting on rocks or standing. Some places were fortunate enough to have a set of makeshift chairs.

And we even found a few churches still standing.

The services were mostly in French or Creole, but one need not understand the language to know that these Haitians are an amazing group of people - thanking God for what they have, instead of reflecting upon what they lost.

It is a spirit that also existed in three other places we visited today.

The first was an orphanage with ties to Clayton. Actually, it was a temporary location, because the original one was rendered uninhabitable by the quake.

The folks who run the orphanage are hoping the kids can be temporarily relocated until they find a new location. But in the meantime, the kids are as grateful as could be for what little they do have in a temporary location.

The second place we visited was a school where the 82nd Airborne set up another food distribution. Bags of rice, emblazoned with the logo "USAID - From The American People" were handed out to those who have yet to see much help. The line was long, as you could imagine, but again - the people were grateful to get something.

Lastly, on the way up to our satellite feed point, we passed an area I talked about in my blog yesterday. It is a farmers' market where so many people who lost everything were angry about not getting any help from anybody.

Well, we're happy to report that this morning, UN troops oversaw a rice distribution to these people, with a little help from elements of the 82nd Airborne. Their truck was emptied in just a few short minutes.

On this day of social gatherings, reflection, and prayer, many Haitians are finally preparing to sit down to their first big bowl of rice since the quake.

And you can bet it is the only super bowl they care about today.

Previous blog entries

Click here to read about a Duke medical team in Haiti on Saturday.

Click here to read about ABC11 traveling around Port-au-Prince on Friday.

Click here to read about ABC11 arriving back in Haiti on Thursday.

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