Global Lens Reflections on life, the universe, and everything

Mother’s love

Mariolette Souffrant helps her son Lucien Scheinder get dressed for school in a tent city in the Mais Gate neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. More than a million survivors of Haiti's January 2010 earthquake continue living in temporary structures like these. The four-year old boy is a student at the Notre Dame de Petits School, run by the Notre Dame de la Nativite Orthodox Church, a member congregation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

It’s back to school time for many children in North America, so this week I’m thinking about people like Mariolette Souffrant, a woman living in a tent city in the Mais Gate neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Here she is one morning helping her son Lucien get dressed for school. The four-year old is a student at the Notre Dame de Petits School, run by the Notre Dame de la Nativite Orthodox Church, part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Look at their home, what reporters generously call a “tent.” There are more than 300,000 Haitians still living in such “temporary” conditions, despite all the money, despite all the aid groups. It’s still a mess. Yet the roots of Haiti’s disaster run deep, much deeper than the 2010 earthquake that destroyed this family’s home. But so too does the resolve of the poor to survive, to offer their children a better life. Amid the heartbreaking poverty of his neighborhood, Lucien goes to school in a clean uniform, his shoes shined. A mother’s love is often more powerful than the worst disaster. As a journalist, I see it all the time, and it helps keep at bay the evil I’m also forced to witness. Mèsi poutèt ou, Madan Mariolette. Etid byen, Lucien..

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