Haiti today: Notes from David Ono Pt. 2, Tent city by the sea

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti

The world's elite spend tens of millions of dollars to have an ocean view in communities like Malibu and Laguna. Living near a beautiful ocean has come to symbolize status in our culture.

Today, I found myself standing on a beach staring at the turquoise blue Caribbean. Fifty feet behind me a village was staring at me. They weren't enjoying the view. They were hoping I might be their salvation for one day.

They were starving.

It was one of a thousand tent cities you'll find throughout earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

They didn't care about the view. Finding food for their children was their only concern. With a guide I stumbled upon them. They knew this might be an opportunity. Opportunity ... a rarity in their lives.

They invited me into their camp. What I saw was the antithesis of one of our beach communities. Bloated, malnourished kids. Skinny, miserable adults.

They showed me their water supply: simply a hole in the ground. They'd drop a bucket on a string and pull up a murky mess. It's what they drink, cook with, and bathe in. And it's making them sick. They know it but have no choice.

They showed me their food storage bin ... empty.

The last of it was cooked that day for the kids. I saw the kids scraping the burnt rice and bean remnants from the pot. The adults simply watched, they didn't eat that day.

I asked the village elder what it would take to feed his entire community, he told me "one hundred dollars a day." That's it. A little more than 25 cents per person. Nothing to us. Insurmountable to them.

As I am leaving they tell me they are worried about what tomorrow will bring.

Sunrise over a beautiful ocean may be magical to us, but to them, it's another day of misery and worry about how they will survive.

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