Posted by: journeytokathmandu | 2010/07/12

Barang Films Goes to Haiti

Three weeks ago Barang Films went to Haiti to produce some videos for Relief International.  It turned out to be another brand new experience in another new country that I’ll not soon forget.  And while I was only there for what amounted to be an 8-day shoot, what I saw and felt is everything that makes me love and appreciate doing this work.

People have asked me ‘How was Haiti?’  How to answer such a question?  For any sort of answer that would come from my mouth would risk sounding trite.  Sure, Port-au-Prince has been thoroughly devastated by January’s earthquake.  Sure, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.   And these are all things that I saw and felt and experienced on a moment-to-moment basis.  But as seems to be customary in developing countries like Nepal, Cambodia, and Haiti, it’s the people that leave an everlasting impression and really shape my work and my opinion of the place.  And really what struck me during my short time in the Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, was that while everywhere there was rubble and there were few standing structures to speak of and there were make-shift shacks that lined the garbage-strewn streets… one thing that shone above all of this was the light that seemed to beam from their smiling faces.  Like the Cambodians so many miles away, who experienced a genocide that nearly wiped out its population, the Haitians amidst intense and immense destruction have somehow, miraculously found a way to live on.  To have hope.  To keep smiling.

Sure, there are incredibly dangerous places in the city.  Kidnappings and thievery and prostitution are sadly not terribly uncommon occurrences.  Water is disease-infested.  People are living in tattered tents that were meant to be temporary, emergency housing, but are now becoming more permanent and slum-like.

But still there is hope.  Still they keep smiling.

And its NGOs like the one that hired me to produce videos for them that are embedded in the country and helping make a difference.  Relief International was one of the first to arrive during that critical emergency phase.  And they have been there since, working directly with communities like La Plaine, Port au Prince, Carrefour and others, instituting programs like the Water and Sanitation Program, the Mobile Clinics and the Shelter Programs.  They are working directly with and educating the Haitians to help produce sustainable results that will hopefully have lasting, positive effects on communities for years to come.

I do not say these things because I was contracted to produce videos and photography.  I say this because I witnessed the brilliant work firsthand.  And most importantly, I saw the gratitude and understanding on the local population’s faces.  Believe me, I have done enough work in enough countries and been exposed to enough NGOs and humanitarian organizations that I feel like I have at least some sense of what is going to be truly beneficial and sustaining in a developing country.  And for my money, RI is doing just that kind of work.

But don’t just take my word for it.  Check out this latest video of one of the program’s that they have instituted throughout Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas:

In the next week or two, I will post more of the videos and photographs that happened while in Haiti.  Until then, I say Merci bien! to Relief International and to the lovely people of Haiti who have given me the opportunity and experience of a lifetime.  I will not soon forget my short time there and eagerly look to the future when I can once again set foot on this Caribbean island.

I imagine the smiling faces greeting me…

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Responses

  1. […] Haiti! Merci, Relief International! We hope that you enjoyed the first Relief International video (that we posted last week).  This is the third and final (and dare we say ‘favorite’?) […]


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