• Joshua Garties

Rebar and Recovery

You see them everywhere driving through Port-au-Prince—spindly stems of exposed rebar protruding from the tops of concrete walls. These structures were not damaged by the 2010 earthquake; they were constructed afterward. The rebar indicates they were designed to be taller, but were never finished. As you drive southwest to Léogâne, you see them too—the road is lined with half-finished structures. Their owners began construction, but ran out of money. The exposed rebar stands as a testament to their unfunded ambitions.

As you walk through Léogâne’s outlying villages, the structures are organized into lakou—family compounds made up of clusters of one-room houses and bounded by fences of cacti, woven palm fronds, and battered USAID tarps. Some of these houses are concrete, meaning they were rebuilt after the earthquake. Many more are made of distinctive green plywood with corrugated metal rooves. These houses were a joint venture between the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. The two organizations provided the dwellings as temporary shelters, not permanent homes meant to be occupied six years later. Many are beginning to rot in Haiti’s humid climate.

In 2010, the international community came together in an unprecedented effort to support this country, but ended up delivering more quick fixes than sustainable solutions. Like its temporary and half-finished structures, Haiti’s recovery is not complete. The initial outpouring of aid may have mitigated the immediate humanitarian crisis, but it did not set the country on a path to permanent, independent prosperity.

This is particularly apparent in the state of the country’s healthcare system. Doctors Without Borders closed its Léogâne hospital last year. Haiti’s National Hospital will close by the end of 2016 due to a budget shortfall. This dire situation is further compounded by the nationwide doctors’ strike that has paralyzed every public hospital in the country. This leaves Léogâne’s residents with only two healthcare options—expensive private hospitals and YourStory International’s clinic.

We are now the only charitable provider of primary and emergency care in Léogâne. Our system can treat 100 patients per clinic day, but we are forced to turn away dozens more due to our limited capacity. We have a plan to expand our clinic to meet the community’s needs, but we need your support. With your help, we can pay for more staff hours, purchase new medical equipment, and ensure a consistent supply of electricity to our facility.

As healthcare providers leave the area, we must rise to the challenge of supporting the community. We know that we cannot help them overcome every challenge they face, but we can improve their access to basic healthcare. With this obstacle out of the way, the people of Léogâne will be more able to build a prosperous future for themselves.

You can support us through our current GoFundMe campaign, or on our website.