This is me with children at a Haiti orphanage back in 2007. These little ones lost their parents during a storm. Now Haiti is faced with yet another disaster - Hurricane Matthew.
I don't travel to Haiti anymore, now that I work part-time. Yet in all my 21 years of travel, Haiti was always close to my heart.
Weather forecasters say Matthew's 135 mph winds and torrential rains may cause "catastrophic" damage to the island nation. I've been all over Haiti, from Cap Haitian in the north, to Les Cayes in the South. They say Les Cayes will get badly hit by this hurricane.
I was in Haiti shortly after the 2010 earthquake. The destruction was staggering. Some of those buildings that survived the earthquake are still fragile.
Haitians are still recovering and many families still sleep in tents. I can't imagine being in a tent during a bad rainstorm, let alone a hurricane. Some are refusing to leave. It sounds insane, but you have to understand the poverty and desperation. They fear losing all they own, and they can't comprehend how bad this storm can be. I pray it won't be that bad, but from the look of it, Hurricane Matthew will deal a devastating blow to the country.
|One of the many mountainous areas in Haiti I traveled to.|
The biggest fear I have is not the wind in that country, but the rain. Torrential rains. Up to 40 inches of rain locally, they are predicting. Haiti has few trees and many denuded areas, as you can see in the photo to the left. This means flash floods and mudslides, as there is nothing to hold back the ground.
One of my last trips to Haiti was to Les Cayes, the city in the south end. The ocean there is lovely, and there are little shops where you can order fresh fish. I keep wondering what will happen to all of those vendors and those living in that area after this storm.
Haiti just can't seem to catch a break. All I can do is wait...and watch..and hope and pray.