Among the first things I did this morning was poke around Facebook to see if there was any info about a friend who is working in Haiti. One of my son’s high school teachers, the amazing Ms. Bowman, has taken a year’s leave of absence to volunteer with a boarding school in Port-au-Prince, and I was relieved to learn that both she and her students are safe following the earthquake.
Even without that concern for someone I know personally, it’s hard not to think about the people of Haiti. The Boston area has the country’s third-largest population of Haitian-Americans, behind only Miami and New York, and many live in Somerville/Cambridge. Haitian-Americans comprise the largest ethnic/national group at my son’s high school and my daughter’s middle school, and are a significant presence at her more poly-national high school. There are currently two Haitian-Americans in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, increasing their visibility in public life.
I can’t remember a Fletcher student who came directly from Haiti, but we have often had students with Haitian roots. And, of course, so many of our students and alumni have worked there — providing the support that this fragile country needs to re-build itself.
In the coming weeks, I envision many conversations with the Haitian-Americans I know or meet, asking about their families back home. I’ll also be thinking about the Fletcher applicants and alumni who are working there under incredibly difficult circumstances. I hope you’ll take a minute to think of them, too. If any readers have special insights on Haiti, or are living there now, please offer your perspective with a comment on the blog.
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