Look, listen and feel the heartbeat of Haiti
It is a place where thousands of children are living in the streets, where young girls prostitute themselves in their everyday fight for survival. It is a place where orphans are kept as domestic slaves, recompensed only with the leftovers of the family meal. It was hit by a devastating earthquake in January of this year, an earthquake that killed over 200,000 people and left homeless more than 1 million. But at the same time, it is a nation whose people are strong, smile often and wear their best clothes every single day.
It is Haiti. The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
In 1804, Haiti attracted the worlds attention by becoming the first black republic to declare independence. Today, Haiti attracts attention for being the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The state has born witness to many corrupt leaders and experienced substantial exploitation at the hands of foreign governments, especially the United States and France. The country has always been considered a place where anyone can grow rich off the backs of the poor. It is the archetypal example of a system that sees the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Entrenched poverty and the high rate of unemployment have created a hopeless situation for many Haitians, who have lost faith into their leaders. Clean water, food and electricity are in short supply whereas typhus, malaria, dysentery, tuberculosis and Aids are never far away. Their faith lies in god and they find support in their two main religions: catholicism and voodoo.
On top of that, the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010 caused a major setback to the Haitian economy. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake. The Haitian government reported that up to 250,000 people died. 300,000 were injured and more than 1,000,000 became homeless. About 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings collapsed or were severely damaged.
Despite all this, the Haitians never give up. It is a nation with a strong will to continue and to survive.
"Haiti stories" is a project about a nations persistence and of the dignity and pride of these people everyday life.