In 2010 an earthquake ripped through Haiti killing more than 200,000, making millions homeless. Speaking to Haitians now, they date everything from that day – “après le douze”, “avant le douze” meaning after or before the twelfth of January when the 7.0 magnitude quake shook itself out from near the capital Port au Prince.
It’s taken me a few days to get my head even part of the way around Haiti: it’s a strange and wonderful place that has so many signs and so few destinations. What I mean by that is that you see here the beginnings of things and the leftovers of things, but they often don’t seem to lead far. As though the events and history of this half of the Hispaniola island have always been in a constant stop-start mode. It’s as though there are so many influences culturally, politically, religiously - not to ever forget the impacts of serial natural disasters - that few things move in a linear manner to a meaningful conclusion.
'Faith-based' programmes often get a bad press, especially when they are seen to compromise welfare with proseytising motives. But Jonathan C. Bergman shows in relation to the experience in Haiti, one year after the tragic 2010 earthquake, that there is another, positive side to the story.