« March 2010 | Main | May 2010 »

April 2010

04/28/2010

Life in Haiti today

The bodies are gone. The streets are back to the usual chaos of the day. Haiti shows signs of devastation in more subtle ways now. People without limbs & newly cast prosthetic limbs walk the street. Piles of debris make already hazardous roads trickier to navigate. Makeshift tents create cities in fields lining what used to be homes. Yet still the Haitian people carry on, adapt to whatever man or Mother Nature inflict on them.

 

The news groups have given way to relief workers. Hotels that were once filled to capacity with satellite equipment & generators are now occupied with nurses & aid workers. The generators are still running, but no longer power the bright lights used to broadcast across the world, now they sustain life. Haiti is working back to life as usual but the wounds have just begun healing.

 

Marcus & I have been touring the country, revisiting people & landscapes from 6 months ago. Streets have a familiarity, faces are recognized, and the city hasn't 'changed' much. It's evolved. The culture has adapted, accepted, & carried on.

 

The news coverage has changed as well. When the earthquake first happened, it was crazy trying to uplink stories on the satellites. Now we're trying to find an uplink station. All of the news outlets have come to rely on the internet to feed their stories back to stations.

The only problem being, the internet isn't exactly 'state of the art'

here. While internet access has become a God given right in the rest if the world, it's still a coveted luxury here. Marcus & I are used to 'booking a window' to feed out our pieces, pressing play on a laptop, & presto we're on tv. Here we've been struggling to shoot, edit & now send the stories back to the world. Thanks to Marcus, I've learned so much about working the web professionally.

 

When the earth was still moving with aftershocks, the tent hospitals were frantically working on triage. This week the tents are secured in the ground, boardwalks keep stretchers from shaking the sick on rocky ground & medical professionals are focused on care not always related to the quake. We visited a field hospital fitting victims with prosthetic limbs. They had a fully operational hospital staffed with volunteers. Working my way through beds filled with sick babies, I just can't help but get emotional. A crying child has a way of going through a viewfinder directly to a heart. Even the seasoned nurses, used to dealing with illness everyday, were taken to tears.

 

I have to run & check on the progress of our feed...see ya'll when I get back.

Michael Thorne

Eyewitness News photographer

 

 

04/26/2010

Return to Haiti

The plane takes off from Kennedy airport as the New York skyline slowly disappears on the horizon. I really love that skyline...it's become the place where I sleep, home of the people I love, bars where I spend my paycheck.  

Marcus & I are headed back to Haiti. A chance to see how this poor island nation has fared after one of the worst natural disasters in this hemisphere.   Neither Marcus nor I know what to expect. We have no hotel reservations, no driver, no clue what lies at the end of this flight. All we have are memories of what things were like when we left almost 6 months ago.  

The pilot announces the descent into Port Au Prince. The last meal of Burger King breakfast still gurgling in my stomach...it's about time to face the next 8 days. I didn't want to look out the window, just enjoying the last moments before the plane door opened & the island heat washed over us.  

The terminal had found its normal chaotic way of uniformed men & women herding the passengers into roped pens guiding us through a series of mazes towards other uniforms. Stamping passports, questioning foreign visitors, the masses surging for the bags all adding to the atmosphere.  

Now we're sitting in a bar at a hotel...we have a room (or should I say a safe place to rest at night), a full stomach, & a plan to cover the continuing story of the Haitian life after the quake.

Michael Thorne, Eyewitness News Photographer