IT NOW lies in ruins on the streets of Port-au-Prince, a concrete grave for countless nameless souls, but three years ago it was a happy home for a group of Burren travellers on a mission from Ireland to Haiti.
In July of 2006, Sr De Lourdes Fahy and four students from Gort
Community School were the guests of Concern in Haiti. While there they made friends, and saw firsthand the work done in one of the poorest countries in the world.
They were joined in Port-au-Prince by a group of Haitian teenagers, or their “twins” as they were called. Since the earthquake, Sr Fahy has spent much of her time trying to
track down her lost Haitian friends.
“My own twin’s name was Cas- sandra, and all she wanted to be was a lawyer so she could help her poor people. I’d love to know where she is right now. We haven’t heard what has happened to any of the twins who became our friends when we visited over there. We don’t know if they were killed or not,’ she said.
‘‘T haven’t been able to contact any- one over there. I have been searching for information on the internet and I was able to get some information on some of the people that we knew.
“The students really enjoyed their time over there. They had great fun and slept on the roof of the hostel where we were staying. That hostel is now rubble.”
Even before the earthquake, most people in Haiti lived in poverty.
“The conditions that we saw over there were atrocious even then. There was terrible, terrible poverty. We vis- ited all of the poorest parts, especial- ly one area of Port-au-Prince which was called San Martin. The whole area was terribly poor but the people were So nice,’ continued Sr Fahy.
‘That whole area of the city was to- tally neglected. To me, it seemed that the government over there was very inept, useless really. It was also a dangerous place, gangs would roam the streets every night but most of the crime over there was fuelled by pov- erty, aS well as corruption and bad government.
“Concern have done excellent work over there. They set up a lot of water purification projects and run a clinic which looks after HIV patients and a school which they set up.” To donate to Haiti, visit www.concern.net.