I remember exactly where I was on January 12th, 2010 when the 7.0 earthquake struck my childhood home of Port-au-Prince. Seeing the flicker of hope in the eyes of the survivors on TV struck my heart to the core as a Haitian-American. The Haiti I knew growing up was much deeper than the broken buildings and the poverty that was so readily broadcast on network television after the quake. My memories of Haiti were fond and full of the rich culture, the generous people, and the hidden beauty of the Caribbean island. I was so affected after the earthquake that I couldn't continue pursuing broadcast journalism in the US as a career anymore. A few weeks after the devastation, I began making plans to return to the place I called home for fourteen years - Haiti or Haiti Chérie as our national anthem and the Diasporas would call it.
After seeing the outcome of the earthquake, I wanted to play a role in rebuilding the lives of the victims that were affected on January12th 2010. I wanted so desperately to be part of restoring hope in Haiti and to have a positive impact on the country like it had on my life. I've been back for seven months now and I truly feel like I'm home. I am part of a community of people working to rebuild a country that has so much potential. In my mind, the possibilities for Haiti are infinite.
As I meet the beneficiaries of J/P HRO's programs and see the courage in their eyes and I'm convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that I'm in the right place. I can feel that I'm making a difference and that makes me proud!
My name is Vanessa Philogene Short and I'm the new Communications Officer for J/P HRO and a big part my job is to take you inside J/P HRO to experience the work that we are doing in Haiti.
I'm introducing myself so that we can build a relationship through this blog. From this relationship, you can ask me questions and be part of the journey as we rebuild Haiti. My desire eventually is for you to inspire my entries. I would like you, the reader, to be my topic generator. So, go ahead ask away, we at J/P HRO encourage you to share this experience with us so you know what it is really like on the ground here in Haiti.