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A window to unimaginable woe, hope

Updated: March 20, 2012 8:20AM



It’s easy to forget devastating events when they happen elsewhere — out of sight, out of mind. For many of us, that probably has been the case with Haiti.

But over the past two years, ever since a powerful earthquake crumbled much of Haiti, there has been an inspiring outpouring of relief from our neighbors in the Southland.

People have donated tools, shoes and musical instruments. Others have sent letters, cards, money, diapers, building supplies, hospital beds, school buses and, sadly, thousands of burial palls.

Among the area’s heroes is Frankfort businessman John Shattuck who, since the earthquake, has been responsible for sending more than 20 cargo containers full of goods worth more than $16 million. Shattuck was gracious enough to invite SouthtownStar journalists Donna Vickroy and Matt Marton on his most recent trip to Haiti. With his help, they were afforded a unique glimpse into Haitian life.

Beginning with content for Feb. 19, we start a weeklong series, in print and online, exploring the current state of Haiti and how local efforts here are helping many in the impoverished island nation.

Marton and Vickroy spent nearly five days chronicling the extreme suffering and, surprisingly, the considerable joy that the people of Haiti experience daily. They found, as the series title says, that Haiti is a nation of extremes.

Vickroy’s stories and Marton’s photos are stunning, perhaps even jaw-dropping, offering special insight into the raw humanity that Haitians face on any given day.

We’ll take you inside a Haitian morgue, an orphanage, a music school and one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the world. You’ll learn of a severely ill woman who was left for dead on the side of the road and read about attempts to bring her comfort.

Some of the coverage is shocking. It may be unpleasant. It might make you cry. It is graphic, unvarnished and all too real.

We hope it opens eyes.

At the very least, it will make you grateful to live here, safely, in the United States.

Joe Biesk

Managing editor



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