Port-au-Prince

Haiti

The “I” reawakens only in front of a “you.” It’s elementary: the “I” does not reawaken because I build a house for him, but because of the gaze that I have in building it!

Speech by Fr Julian Carron to AVSI CTO entitled “The Forces that Change History are the Same Forces that Change the Heart of Man”.

Rubble and white bows. Garbage and bleached shirts. Delinquency and charity. These are some of the contradictions I saw during my stay in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.

A population battered by a lifetime: first the conquerors, then the dictatorship; hurricanes and natural disasters until the earthquake of 2010, which completely destroyed the capital in an instant, leaving more than 250,000 dead under the rubble.

Every family was in mourning. Each home was damaged. The cathedral was a disturbing spectacle: only the outer walls and a crucifix were left standing, as if to testify that death is not a victory over mankind, exactly as it was 2000 years ago.

Yet, in this apocalyptic scenario, people walk down the streets with clean and tidy clothes and children go to school in their uniforms wearing white ribbons in their hair. The fruit and vegetable markets continue undeterred among rubble and concrete debris, while pigs wander around constantly looking for food.

Although my eyes saw destruction, my camera, as if it were closely linked to my heart, went on to capture images of beauty. As if to guide me to the essence of these people. The sense of beauty that persists in spite of everything. In every man. Everything could start over from an encounter able to rekindle the heart.