When many think of helping Haiti, they think of the children. They are everywhere, and they are adorable. How could you not want to help the child smiling right next to you, a piece of candy away from making their day. So when I heard we were going to an elderly care house for a story earlier this week the idea seemed shocking. It turns out this story was one of the most compelling I’ve seen since the quake.
The care center previously had two buildings, one to house women and the other for men. The women’s dorm collapsed. In the men’s dorm there are the reminisce of those who used to occupy it before the earthquake. Only a few elderly are living in the dorm as most are afraid of it collapsing as well.
But outside the situation is grim. Portable hospital toilets lay in the courtyard as children play games amongst the elderly. An organization has come to take care of those staying here, but because the wall between the care center and the tent city next door had collapsed, there have already been reports of a neighboring gang stealing food and aid.
The reason why this story seemed so interesting to me is because I never imagined it being a problem. To be honest, in the past I had never seen very many old Haitians walking around, so seeing this many in one place was jarring. Because the average age of a Haitian is around 60, many of these people have outlived their children which has left them with no where else to go.
They plan on building another elderly care center as soon as possible to house those that are now living in tents. But until then, these people are left with so little. The tent camps are not ideal for anyone in Haiti, but for these people, life is about as hard as it gets.
But it’s nice to know that these people have not been forgotten. The organization that has taken them under their wing is keeping them cared for, and workers come everyday to feed and bathe them. What this story did do though is remind me that everyone needs help. These elderly were once the children that we care so much about now. And just like the children, they need our help now more than ever.