Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Haiti's Displaced Elderly
This is Yolande.
Yolande is 78 years old and escaped the earthquake in January with some leg injuries, but she just laughs and says they are healing "very well".
She lives under a large tarp across the street from an orphanage where I am staying in Port-au-Prince. Under the tarp is a little tent that she sleeps in with a daughter and grandson.
The blue tarp was donated by Buddhist monks.
Conditions inside this tent are quite miserable. The heat, humidity, flys, and rain drove me out quickly.
Yolande eats when her family can find little morsels of food or the orphanage manager gives her some rice and beans.
The Miami Herald had an article yesterday which reported that Haiti's elderly have been overlooked after the earthquake. According to the Herald, there are 200,000 people older than 60 years who are homeless in Haiti because of the earthquake.
And people like Yolande must eat to stay alive. Hard protein biscuits distributed by the United Nations are very difficult to chew when you have few teeth.
Yolande's spirits remain high as she smiles and waves hello in the morning. What will become of her and many other displaced elderly as Haiti's rainy season really takes off?