The Haiti Chronicles – Part 2: Shock and Awe

Landing in Haiti, we were greeted with a relatively orderly experience through immigration and customs – but upon exiting the building, it was clear we were in a new world.  We were surrounded by people – many trying to carry our bags for us – even grabbing on and not letting go – all in an attempt to make their living – which you certainly can’t fault them for.

Once we met our team contact and got in our truck, we were greeted by nothing short of shocking imagery.  Right outside the airport, people are living in tiny structures smaller than most self storage units, made from scrap tarps, wood and metal.  In places, there must have been groups of over 200 of these homes, side by side and several deep for the better part of a mile.  Trash and rubble are still all over the place – the aroma at times was pretty assaulting.  People live in conditions that are heartbreaking (like the photo below).

But even in this desolate environment, I was in awe by the joy of the Haitian people.  It would be an oversimplification to say that everything is joyful here, because its not, but for my middle class eyes, the joy these people display is amazing.  Like the photo at the top of the post (and several of the images in the gallery below), the Haitian people as a whole have learned a profound truth – possessions do not equal happiness, nor does poverty equal despair.   This is especially true among the people who are being served and loved by the church here in Haiti.  It’s a lesson I, and I believe our Americanized culture as a whole could learn much from.

Below are a collection of photos from our first day in Haiti.  More coming tomorrow!

Copyright 2011 Deremer Studios – Jacksonville, FL
Check us out at DeremerStudios.com  |  904-744-1103  |  nate@deremerstudios.com

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The Haiti Chronicles – Part 1: Departure

Above: A rugged portrait of Port au Prince.

Over the next week or so, I wanted to share with you all a special opportunity I recently had to visit Haiti on behalf of Reach Global.  Now, this wasn’t your traditional mission trip – but rather an opportunity to spend a week among the people of Haiti as well as those investing their very lives into this vibrant, complex and struggling people.  Together with videographer Chris Yarborough and Reach Global Latin America’s communications guru, Melissa Putney, we chronicled the lives of both missionaries and Haitians.

I thought it would be best to unfold this series as it unfolded to me.  Though it is rather cliche, it is true to say that photos do not do the experience of seeing Haiti for the first time justice.  The sights, sounds and aromas of this nation were almost alien to this suburban photographer.  I hope through these next several entries you too will be touched by the beauty, heartache, love and desperate need that represents the people of Haiti.

Below are a collection of photos from our whirlwind team meeting in Miami.  In total, four teams traveled to various portions of Latin America and the Caribbean (Haiti, Brazil, Mexico and Columbia).  You can see the whole team above – I thought it would be unique to pose us in front of the approach for Miami International Airport, as we were all about to hop on our respective flights early the next morning.

Copyright 2011 Deremer Studios – Jacksonville, FL
Check us out at DeremerStudios.com  |  904-744-1103  |  nate@deremerstudios.com