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Think Out Loud

Living in Haiti

Pete Springer/OPB

It’s been two years since Haiti’s 7.0 earthquake devastated a country that was already the poorest in the western hemisphere. On Monday, we spoke to the producer of Haiti: Where Did The Money Go, which premiered on OPB TV this week. Today we’ll spend some time talking about conditions on the ground with someone who’s lived there for more than a decade. June Hanks works for Oregon-based Medical Teams International — the Portland-based organization just made Charity Navigator’s list of top 10 charities. She directs Medical Team’s Advantage Program, focused on helping the disabled population — which jumped significantly after the earthquake.

She says on the one hand, she’s encouraged by the work that her team, Medical Teams International generally and some other aid organizations are doing. On the other hand she says she’s never seen the country in worse shape overall. If she focused on that alone, she says, she couldn’t keep going. She gathers her strength from seeing the the impact of her work on individual people — like the boy named Frenel, who lost his leg in the earthquake and thought he’d never play soccer or ride a bike again. Seeing him get a prosthetic limb and be able to joyfully kick around a soccer ball and ride a bicycle are what she holds on to.

What questions do you have about the help that Medical Teams International is providing to the people of Haiti?

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