Sunday, June 26, 2011

Haiti

As many of you know, my day job is book conservator for The Smithsonian Institution Libraries. I recently travelled to Haiti for two weeks to work with the Smithsonian sponsored Haitian Cultural Recovery Center in Port-au-Prince. I spoke at length with Tina Seamonster of Hello Craft about my experience. You can listen to the podcast here.

The experience was amazing and overwhelming. Haiti is struggling to recover from the earthquake that hit in January f 2010. Rubble litters the streets and an estimated 700,000 people still live in tent cities without basic sanitation or access to clean water.

I won't win any awards for photo journalism - the majority of the photos I was able to take were out of a moving car. This photo shows the National Palace with it's toppled domes visible above the tent city that sprang up after the earthquake.


The highlight of my experience was working with the wonderful staff at the National Library of Haiti. They were professional, hardworking and determined to build a better Haiti. The project we worked on involved taking books damaged when the stacks of the library toppled in the earthquake. We cleaned, boxed and sorted the books. In the process, books that needed further repair or had mold damaged were flagged for future treatment.


This is the team of eight we worked with to treat the earthquake damaged books. The photo was taken outside of the National Library.

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