By Mark Curnutte

Whilst a devastating earthquake struck close to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on January 12, 2010, the realm reacted with a collective, but far away, horror. For Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Mark Curnutte, listening to the scoop provoked a much more visceral reaction. Curnutte had grown to like Haiti and its humans as in simple terms anyone who had lived with Haiti's households could.

A Promise in Haiti is Curnutte's tale of his time, spanning the decade, dwelling between numerous households in Gonaives, a urban of 200,000 humans 100 kilometers north of Port-au-Prince. He all started touring to Haiti as a volunteer with the help association fingers jointly, finally construction belief and credibility with many Haitians. Curnutte introduces the reader to the Cenecharles kinfolk, strained via entrenched unemployment and the necessity to continuously go back and forth for paintings. he's invited into the house of the Henrisma relatives, and is compelled to reconcile journalistic detachment with uncomplicated compassion as he contributes financially to assist them. The reader is faced with a classy, conflicted written and photographic list of a worldview that evolves correct at the web page. As a reporter, Curnutte came across parallels among the lives he encountered in Gonaives and the area of the good melancholy stated in James Agee and Walker Evans's Let Us Now compliment recognized Men. Agee and Evans loom huge as a problem and idea to Curnutte.

The result's equivalent components homage to that historical chronicle, on-the-ground reporting, and introspective narrative at the classes Gonaives taught Curnutte approximately his personal existence and relations. In overdue February 2010, Curnutte went again to Haiti on task, yet stipulations made it very unlikely for him to come back to Gonaives. The ensuing frustration provoked a meditation at the enormous demanding situations that face Haiti -- and at the harmful cycle of foreign recognition that regularly strikes directly to "The subsequent huge Story."

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Additional resources for A Promise in Haiti: A Reporter’s Notes on Families and Daily Lives

Sample text

I would photograph 23 A Promise in Haiti them. If I had just one book in me I wanted it to be about people and a place that I cared about. It would not be about football. From his 1988 introduction to a new edition of Famous Men, John Hersey wrote that Agee wanted to reach the “unsentimental exactness” in his prose that Evans achieved in his photographs. Agee himself wrote that he had wanted the families to know he would “not do any meanness” to them (p. xvi). He told the families exactly what he was doing.

For the first six months of my time in Cincinnati in 1993 I was assigned to report and write on the simmering racial tension in the region, which would turn violent in 2001. During the preparation of a seven-day series titled “A Polite Silence,” which would win a 1994 Unity Award from Lincoln University in Missouri, I read a number of books to further attempt to sensitize myself to my subject matter: John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Andrew Hacker’s Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal.

Throughout Haiti, waterborne parasitic diseases are the second leading killer, behind malnutrition. About 40 percent of the people have access to water that is safe to drink. Many wells are contaminated with human and animal feces. Throughout the countryside, people will bathe and wash clothes in the same crowded stream from which they draw drinking and cooking water. Providing safe drinking water is a primary goal for development groups in Haiti and other third-world nations. Hands Together, the Catholic mission group, bought its first of several well diggers in 1996 and has built dozens of wells for clean drinking water and agricultural projects throughout the Diocese of Gonaïves.

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