For nearly two years, I lived in the town of Jacmel, Haiti. Today, it sits decimated by the recent earthquake.
Jacmel has a population of about 40,000 people. The road from Port au Prince to Jacmel until very recently was not passable by vehicle. It is very difficult for supplies and aid to reach Jacmel. The reports are that almost 10,000 people have been left without homes. The tiny airport in Jacmel, which is actually just a few dirt landing strips and a small building, is now the site of a refugee camp.
Jacmel was a tourist destination known for its architecture and artist colony and was considered the nicest town in Haiti. However, all of the old French colonial homes, including the home I rented during most of my time in Haiti, were completely flattened or too damaged to live in. In fact, the entire street where I lived was pretty much reduced to a pile a rubble. Pretty much all of old town Jacmel was totaled.
Something that people may not think about is that many small foundations doing good work in Haiti have been severely crippled by the earthquake and are in desperate need of money to clean up and rebuild. The PAZAPA foundation in Jacmel is one such organization. It’s office was badly damaged by the earthquake. I encourage people to consider making a small donation to any of the numerous small foundations that do great work in Haiti.
This earthquake has destroyed much of the economy in Jacmel; it has traumatized the inhabitants; and it has destroyed much of the town’s history and architecture. Jacmel will never be the same. I am happy to report that my best Haitian friend, who was in Port au Prince at the time of the earthquake, is safe. He walked nearly 50 miles, almost 26 of which go over a mountain range, to get from Port au Prince to Jacmel where he has friends.