"Haiti…" January 2010.

Young Haitian orphaned boy at the Love a Child Health Center in Fond Parisien, Haiti on Tuesday, January 26, 2010. An Operation Smile orthopedic and plastic surgical team from Penn State Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA are in Haiti treating victims of the 7.0 earthquake earlier this month.
© Chet Gordon for Operation Smile

Fond Parisien, Haiti. Welcome back to Haiti – This is truly “The Zone…” (more on this mere phrase later.) Returning to Haiti two weeks after the massive earthquake that struck this island nation is obviously overpowering – almost traumatic if you will. From earlier posts you’ll know that I’d traveled here in the Fall of 1993 on my first international self-assigned shooting trip. More like a mission. Or a calling, if you will. The images that are constantly produced here by any number of photographers are always powerful. Haiti tests your strengths and passion as a photographer, even if you don’t realize it at the time. There is something about the people, the language, and oh this beautiful Caribbean light here. But I am not here on a mere nostalgia visit. This is the real deal, because as the world knows – the shit really hit the fan here two weeks ago. That is why I am here. Without question, without hesitation. Working as a volunteer for Operation Smile of Norfolk, VA means the world to me. Always has throughout my career. It has all sort of been a blur through the weekend and the continual travel, last minute change of plans and logistical nightmares of sorts so far. The medical team I’m documenting are settled into refugee camp called the Love a Child Heath Center about 20 kilometers from the Dominican Republic border, here in the mountainous region of Haiti. Most of the team are now sleeping in tents left by a team from Camden, NJ that pulled out today after two weeks here in country. That’s right, I said American trauma and plastic surgeons as well nursing staff are sleeping out under the stars. I prefer and empty storage room we’ve converted from a classroom in one of the buildings on the grounds of this compound. In fact, we were initially going to work at a field hospital on the Dominican Republic side of the border, but when the need was realized here by our administrative and advance people, swift decisions were made to move the team here for the duration of their stay.

It’s late. I feel extremely lucky to have internet connectivity and hoping it’ll be reliable for the rest of the week. I’ll work hard to add a few more posts here during the week on the blog, after I’ve moved files to the client. You can read more of how this mission is going for Operation Smile here in Haiti by going Here. -cg.


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