Diary from Haiti: 2010/02/18, Food Distribution with GAiN

by Ruth Bücker/ FBA,  2010/02/19

This morning Florian and I started out to distribute baby food which was donated to humedica. humedica received the donation from GAiN Germany. Together with the organisation, we distributed the donated food to Haitian mothers today.

Employees of GAiN Canada have been present in Haiti for several weeks now, distributing food packets containing rice, beans and oil. During many distributions, clothes or baby food are handed out additionally. Today, people received both.

When we arrived within the walled area in Croix de Bouquets, in the northeast of Port au Prince, a church service was taking place and the people were singing and praying in complete calmness. At the beginning, the food distribution proceeded just as calmly.

A member of the humedica team gives baby food to a mother. Photo: humedica/Ruth Bücker

The people queued up to receive their food packets and then met at one place in order to leave the area again as one single group. It had actually been planned to keep the gates of the area closed until everyone had received their packets and until the trucks and pick-up trucks were ready to leave.

When for unknown reasons the gates were nevertheless opened during the food distribution, the situation suddenly became very strained and I personally felt nervous at first.

The truck had to leave the area earlier than planned, surrounded by a large group of people who saw their desperately needed food being taken away. When the people then started taking the remaining food packets from the truck beds of the pick-up trucks by themselves, and when they started crowding in, regardless of the danger they put themselves in, also the pick-up trucks had to stop distributing food.

Together with our driver, I stood in the middle of all the people, but nevertheless, I did not feel threatened. The people’s attitude towards us, the relief team did not change, but it changed among those who needed help. Their desperation showed clearly.

During this food distribution, I experienced much joy and excitement, but also frustration; and all this happened within only one single hour – this is how long the distribution took. Joy, because I saw how grateful the people were for the donations and the attention of the charity organisations.

Mother with child. Photo: humedica/Ruth Bücker

Excitement, because I experienced first-hand how the situation got more and more strained and how difficult it is to foresee the behaviour of desperate people in situations of emergency such as this. And frustration, because this day has made it clear to me how helpless people here have to wait for international support and how dependent they are on it – even almost five weeks after the earthquake.

The people put their lives in peril in order to snatch away some of the baby food for their children. I think this image clearly reflects the current living situation of many Haitians. GAiN will continue distributing food, and by doing so the organisation is making an important contribution.

We must not forget how important it is to plan the future of the country and its inhabitants on a long term. The people need help in order to become independent once more.

Dear friends and supporters of humedica: here, I can experience how your support is passed on to the people and what results can be achieved. But I can also see that the people still urgently need further help. Please continue supporting our efforts by making a donation to the account below:

humedica e.V.
Donation reference „Earthquake Haiti“
Account 47 47
Bank code 734 500 00
Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Or make an online donation online here. Thank you very much.

When Haitian women carry their things on their heads, they look very proud and sublime. Photo: humedica/Ruth Bücker

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