Haiti: Beyond the Rubble exhibition – 10

I went back to Port au Prince in January this year, to cover the anniversary of the earthquake, and see how people we’d met before were doing now.  I’d visited Salem Baptist Church, which sits on a slight hill looking out over the downtown area and the harbour, in March 2010.  We’d gone to an early morning service outside the main building, held under tarpaulins, as the congregation were worried about its structural integrity.  The school beside the church had, amazingly, stayed standing, despite enormous cracks running through it, but was clearly unsafe.  The church building itself had a whole wing that had shifted, but was still intact.  The church is one of many in Port au Prince that Tearfund had partnered with to offer immediate relief to people who’d lost their livelihoods during the quake – when I visited in March 2010 church staff were giving out small cash grants funded by Tearfund.

In January 2011, the congregation were back using the main building – the cracks had been plastered over, and the school had been pulled down – the only way to make many of the damaged buildings in Port au Prince safe.  People’s minds were back on the earthquake, and this service was very emotional, with people’s testimonies of what had happened to them over the past year, stories of miraculous escapes, and sacrificial care for each other. A humbling day and week.

Sunday morning worship service at Salem Baptist Church, Port au Prince. Jan 2011.

Photo: Richard Hanson/Tearfund

Richard Hanson :: photographer  :: Sheffield