Since the earthquake in January 2010, Pulitzer Center journalists have been in Haiti telling the stories of individual Haitians as they try to rebuild after the devastation of the earthquake. The Pulitzer Center Gateway, "Haiti: After the Quake," is the culmination of a year-long exploration of the country of Haiti and its people.
You can also print a PDF of this lesson.
Before reviewing the resources on Haiti available in the "Haiti: After the Quake" Gateway, ask your students to spend a couple of days collecting news articles about Haiti. Help the students classify these articles by general topic: health and safety, politics, history, international aid, human rights, etc., and time frame: before the earthquake, right after the quake, and in the year since the earthquake occurred.
- Help students look at the type of coverage the country of Haiti receives in mainstream American media, how the country of Haiti and the Haitian people are represented in this reporting, and examine when most coverage happens.
- Have students generate a KWL chart – what have they learned after reading these newspaper articles, what do they want to know and, at the end of this lesson, reflect on what have they learned about country of Haiti and its people.
Part One -- Background Information: About the Pulitzer Center Reporting on Haiti
Scroll through the thumbnails, find and open the project "Resilience in a Ravaged Nation: Haiti After the Earthquake." Under the "Blog" tab you will find the following videos that will offer students some background information on the sights and sounds of Haiti immediately after the quake. The videos should be previewed to ensure the content is appropriate for all students.
- Why was this settlement named Sou Piste? How many people are living in the settlement?
- Describe the conditions of the residents of Sou Piste: what do their homes look like? What food are they eating? Do they have access to clean drinking water or proper sanitation facilities?
- What is happening to the men, women, and children who are exposed to water-borne diseases?
- How is the NGO Partners in Health (PIH) helping in the settlement?
- What is the focus of Andre Lamberston's work in Haiti?
- Why did Andre want to go to Haiti after most of the mainstream media left in January of 2010?
Before watching the video, read the blog background information at the bottom of the page. As your students to consider the following questions:
- What is the statue of Neg Mawon? Why is it such an important symbol for the Haitian people?
- What is the mission of Partners in Health (PIH)? Where do they work?
- What does the phrase "Neg Mawon Pap Jamn Kraze" mean? Why do you think Partners in Health (PIH) chose this as their motto in Haiti?
Watch the video attached to this blog and reflect on Andre Lamberston's desire to show a different side of the people of Haiti – does this video show different images from those shown in the mainstream media right after the quake? How? Is the tone of this video different from other reporting you've read/seen?
Part Two -- After the Earthquake: Haiti's Reconstruction
Return to the "Haiti: After the Quake" Gateway page. Click through the thumbnails, find and launch the project "Haiti's Reconstruction: Building Back Better." Under "Articles" open "Letters from Port au Prince: After the Quake" by journalist Bill Wheeler. Have students read the article to themselves, in small groups, or as a large group. After reading, ask students to consider the following questions:
- What are the elements of a functional Haitian relocation camp?
- What factors have historically stalled Haiti's development as an independent nation? After the earthquake, what additional factors worsened the social and political situation in Haiti?
Next, open this transcript of an interview, "Haiti Update," conducted by Marco Werman on PRI's The World radio program on September 9, 2010. If you are able to download the MP3, have students read the transcript as they listen to the interview. If the audio is not available, have students read the transcript independently, as a small group, or as a whole class. After reading, as the students to discuss the following questions:
- What challenges does Ms. Wall identify in the rebuilding of Haiti? Are they the same as those noted by Bill Wheeler?
- Why is the issue of fresh water and sanitation infrastructure so pressing? What problems stem from a lack of clean drinking water and/or proper sewage disposal systems?
- Why are the rebuilding efforts not facilitated by the financial aid offered by foreign governments and other humanitarian agencies?
Part Three -- Civil Rights in Haiti and the Dominican Republic
Haitian Tent Cities
Begin by providing your students with some background information about life in the tent cities opened after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Have students read the article "Six Months After Quake, Progress in Haiti is Slow" from PBS News Hour, run on July 21, 2010 and look at the photos from the PBS News Hour article "Scenes from Haiti, Six Months After the Quake." Both articles investigate the conditions in the Haitian relocation camps six months after the earthquake. Encourage students to consider:
- Describe the conditions in the Haitian relocation camps: is there basic shelter, drinking water, sanitation, and medical facilities?
- How are these relocation camps like small cities?
- How do weather and health concerns affect residents of the tent cities?
On the Pulitzer Center website, find and launch the "Haiti: After the Quake" Gateway page. Click through the thumbnails, find and launch the project, "After the Quake: HIV/AIDS in Haiti." Under the "Blog" section, find and open "Interview with Dr. Jean William Pape at GHESKIO." Watch the video excerpt from the interview, found at the top of the page.
Have your students consider the following questions:
- Why does Dr. Pape believe relocating Haitians from the tent cities should be a rebuilding priority? Do you agree? Why or why not?
- What does Dr. Pape believe should be included in the relocation of Haitian citizens?
- In your opinion, how is the issue of permanent housing a civil rights issue?
- How would a lack of permanent housing affect people's ability to work or go to school? What are the dangers and challenges residents of the tent cities face on a daily basis? Why do you think the resettlement of the residents of tent cities will be challenging?
Struggle for Citizenship
Return to the main "Haiti: After the Quake" Gateway page. Click through the thumbnails, find and launch the project "Dominican Republic: Life on the Margins" by Stephanie Hanes and Steve Sapienza. Under the "Audio" tab open "Haitian Migrants Face Racism in the Dominican Republic." Listen to the radio report and have students consider the following questions:
- How many Haitians are living in the Dominican Republic? What issues do they face living in the Dominican Republic?
- What jobs are available for Haitians living in the Dominican Republic?
- What job do the poorer Haitians end up getting? Describe this type of labor.
- Describe the situation for children of Haitian immigrants born and living in the Dominican Republic. Why are they not able to receive official citizenship documents? How does the lack of official citizenship documents and/or ID Cards affect their lives?
- Why is the Dominican Republic's unwillingness to grant individuals of Haitian-descent citizenship documents a civil rights issue? Describe how the situation of these Haitians is similar to that of women and racial/ethnic minorities in the United States and other western nations as they were developing. For example, as non-citizens, women were denied several fundamental rights: inheriting family money, owning land, voting, serving on juries, and attending school, practicing politics, etc.
- How was the situation for these groups in the United States similar to that of the Haitians in the Dominican Republic? How is it different?
Revisit the KWL chart and allow students to fill in new information/what they've learned about Haiti. If students still have questions, or would like additional information, encourage them to continue seek new reporting on the Pulitzer Center site as well as through the New York Times, PBS News Hour, the Washington Post, and other news outlets.
- If you would like to provide students with a more recent update on the reconstruction in Haiti, or if students are interested learning more about the government and where the country stands with regard to international aid money today, they can read the November 21, 2010 New York Times article, "Mired in Crisis, Haiti Struggles to Focus on Election" by Damien Cave and Randal C. Archibold.