Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti, Part 3: Ste. Trinite, Before & After

Continued from Part 2...

These are some photographs of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where my friend Jeanne Pocius was at the time of Tuesday's earthquake (see Part 1 and Part 2 for more details). This exterior shot (the 'before') I found on Flickr through Google-Images. The same view is seen (the 'after') below.

Here is some information about the school from the website: "Holy Trinity School, adjacent to the Cathedral, was originally founded as a school for girls in 1913. Today, there are 1200 boys and girls. There is also a Trade School with 800 students and a music School. Since the music program was begun in 1970, a philharmonic orchestra and a boys choir have been formed; and concerts are given frequently in Salle Sainte Cecile at the school."

The video in Part 1 featured the school's orchestra - the Facebook video (which I couldn't figure out how to post here) with the performance of the finale of Haydn's Trumpet Concerto was from a concert on St. Cecilia's Day (November 22nd) last year in the school's auditorium, the St. Cecilia Hall. St. Cecilia is the patron saint of music.

This (right) is a photograph of the main entrance (see above for 'before') taken after the earthquake, one of a series of photos posted at the Music Schools Earthquake Info Sharing page at Facebook. I don't know who took them: they were posted state-side.

It is more than just a church. In addition to the school and its music school there is also "St. Vincent's School for Handicapped Children, started in 1945, now cares for some 1500 children a month in the school section and in the specialized medical, orthopeidic and neurological clinics. There are also surgical facilities one day a week. Music, art, and literature are included along with the academic curriculum. There are boarding places for 200 children."

This photograph (left), which I found at a website for an Episcopal mission's website from Alabama, shows the area behind the altar, one of the many paintings in the classic Haitian "primitive" style that made the cathedral a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The interior of the church can be seen through the collapsed walls in the photo below (right).

"College St. Pierre, the Church's secondary school in Port-au-Prince, is located at the southeast corner of the Champs-de-mars. Opened in 1957, it now has an enrollment of 700. This school and the diocese have taken an important role in preserving and propagating the artistic heritage of Haiti. A museum, constructed across the street from the school, houses a permanent collection of Haitian art."

College St. Pierre (below), adjacent to the school and cathedral, is where Jeanne and most of the other survivors are staying, now, living on the soccer field. It is near the French embassy.

Here is a story posted at CNN about a woman hoping to find her only child, a student at the cathedral's school. He is a violinist and also a singer in the choral ensemble, Les petits chanteurs.

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UPDATE (1-16-2010): her son, Marc, has been located: he was with another member of Les petits chanteurs at the time of the quake and is with another family, trying to locate his mom! He is safe!
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"Armand St. Louis, 30, says his 8-year-old cousin and a 19-year-old girl are still trapped. He has talked with them, St. Louis said. He is digging his way down from the computer room, which collapsed onto the music room.'It's dark, and she's scared,' St. Louis says."

Here is a link to a video posted at CNN as rescuers - the victim's own family members - work to pull a young man pinned beneath the five-story structure of the Trade School (see below) at Ste. Trinite. The woman in the next scene is the mother of the young violinist and singer mentioned above, looking for her son at the music school, not knowing if he was there or not at the time of the quake. The final scene is another anxious mother looking for her child.

This photograph (right) is of the Trade School that is part of the Ste Trinite Campus.

I am assuming the Hospital Ste. Croix is in the vicinity, also [see CORRECTION below]. It has not collapsed (as apparently had been reported earlier) but it is badly damaged. Only one person associated with the hospital had died, though another one is unaccounted for. Suzi (I am guessing the administrator for the hospital) describes the situation: I assume this is the soccer field at College Ste. Pierre where the Trinite students and Jeanne are staying, now.

"At night we sleep in the yard behind the hospital where the bandstand was. It has fallen, as has the Episcopal school. There are 2-300 people who sleep in that field at night. Thy sing hymns until almost midnight, and we wake up to a church service, with hymns, a morning prayer, and the apostle's creed. The evening sky is glorious.  In the field there is a real sense of community."

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CORRECTION (1-16-2010): Since I'm directionally challenged even in places I'm already familiar with, it shouldn't be surprising I am mistaken, here, piecing things together from different posts. Facebook friends tell me the Hospital Ste. Croix is in the town of Leogane which is quite some distance from Port-au-Prince (see map here). Part of the confusion is the mention of a bandstand which, yes, is part of Ste. Trinite's summer music camp but that's in Leogane, not at the cathedral complex in PaP! There is another Episcopal school associated with Ste. Croix which is what Suzi is referring to in her report. My apologies.
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This does not mean all is idyllic. She describes trying to care for the wounded. A wall collapsed, opening the room where the drugs were kept and she has to fend off looters ("I shouted down about 20 looters in the guesthouse. Righteous indignation works wonders"). While supplies are stuck at the airport and relief workers seem to be unable to distribute food and water, much less medicine, to the desperate survivors fast enough - or, it would seem from reports seen in the news on TV, at all - Suzi also mentions some folks from a nearby mission who "have some money so they went out and bought rice, etc, and we will eat tonight." Some people have gone without food since the quake three days ago.

As reports of the possible loss of life ranges from 50,000 to 140,000 deaths, I will close this post with two photographs taken from Jeanne's Facebook profile. If I could contact her, I would ask her permission, though I doubt she would mind (I hope). For the one on the left, someone added the caption "Jeanne found Rodney out on the street looking in and matched him with the tuba we brought down from Massachusetts. Playing an instrument could change his life. Jeanne is wonderful about turning kids on to music and giving them a purpose in life." We hear a lot about Venezuela's "El Sistema," but it is not the only program like it in the world with the same goals though it may have more money and more government backing and, of course, more world-wide press. Could one of these children be the next Gustavo Dudamel?

Here, Jeanne beams and claps while a boy dances at one of the summer camp music festivals there. The boy is not named, but the girl is Bernadette, a name I've also seen in the queries and reports: she, too, is safe.

Given the magnitude of the tragedy and the immensity of the challenge before the people of Haiti as they try to put their world back together, I would hope perhaps Jeanne will be conducting another concert in a renovated Ste. Trinite school on St. Cecilia's Day 2010. When you look at the joy in these faces, one can only hope for a happy ending.


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