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Rebuilding a Nation: Haitians Helping Themselves

Wesley Charles is a Haitian who worked for World Vision for more than two decades. It was work that took his family to live in Miami, and took Wesley all over the world.

 But after the earthquake hit his homeland last January, Wesley decided in a fit of national pride to volunteer one year of his life helping to rebuild the country he loved.

Almost two years later, his work continues. 

 Today, it is with Living Water International, an organization you’ll hear more about in our reports next week.

 In the above clip, he talks about the destruction that not only ravaged his nation, but the spirit of its people. So much of the emphasis of the relief effort has been on emergency response, Wesley says, but what residents need now is a plan.

 “What people are waiting for is the right momentum to rebuild the country,” Wesley says. “To look at the earthquake as an opportunity, not just as a disaster per se, but how we can learn from the past and rebuild back that future we need for Haiti.”

That’s what he’s doing now in his efforts to build water wells in Port au Prince, Cap Haitien, and Leogane- the epicenter of the earthquake.

 Unfortunately, he says, he’s one of few. 

“We have a lot of people looking outside of Haiti to get a visa and get out,” Wesley explains. 

 He doesn’t blame them, of course. After all, conditions here are terrible and opportunities for advancement scarce. 

 But there are plenty of opportunities to help, and Wesley found one. 

 “There is no society that can develop if the citizens of that country are not committed to the country themselves.”

 Haiti needs a few more men like Wesley.


Learn more about the conditions in Haiti and his organization, Living Water International, in our series of reports next Monday, Wednesday and Thursday on the WGN News at Nine.

 Until then, check out Living Water International’s local website and read about the organization’s efforts to build a well in Haiti through the sole generosity of Chicago donors. That means you!

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun