“Cholera outbreaks, temporary encampments, destroyed infrastructure, death and injury tallies 300,000, international aid arriving daily, food and water shortages, NGOs present by the scores and very hard-pressed to find images of happiness, fulfillment and contentment.” If Cherel Ito were to return to Haiti today to photograph the landscape and the people, these are probably the words we would find written in her journals, alongside her photographic images.
In 1975 when Cherel Ito’s photographic journeys led her to Haiti, she captured this image of these three, fine looking Haitian young men. “The world was their oyster,” are words that would aptly describe the photograph. In her journal writings in the book www.throughthelensofhercamera.com Cherel Ito noted that “Haiti is so gentle and romantic.” She also mentions of a feeling of contentment among the people and she called it “a real feast for the spirit.”
Hope springs eternal that someday life will return to the kind of Haitian living that Cherel Ito described and the three young Haitian men in this photograph experienced back in 1975. Life really was not perfect then, but it appeared to be. Compared to life in Haiti in 2011, it almost was. Finding the energy, peace and steady life that Cherel observed in the Haitian people in 1975 is now so difficult to find. Cherel wrote that Haiti “is an island where mysteries run deep.” This is still true of Haiti today because it is a mystery how one tiny island country can be subject to so much devastation, so much loss, so much struggle and strife.
The United States has been a source of international aid to Haiti, and if we and other countries can at least provide some of the every day necessities, perhaps someday the Haitian people’s basic feelings of security will be restored. For information on how you can help the Haitian people, please visit www.unicefusa.org.