- A couple of weeks ago in the New York Times, Lawrence Downes wrote a beautiful report from Haiti called The Kite Makers that painted a vivid picture of the devastated country in a few short paragraphs. He described the resourcefulness at play everywhere for those “with skills, strength and luck”. At the Petionville Club camp – donated tarps forged into houses – someone made an ingenious door hinge from the torn sole of a plastic sandal, fastened by nails hammered through bottle caps, which act as washers to prevent sandal from tearing. “Making do with next to nothing is the way of life in Haiti”.
Haitian children make small kites out of whatever they can find – twigs, dry cleaning bags, thread spooled on a can or bottle . Flying homemade kites is relief from their harsh reality.
“One way to resist is to fly. The kite makers dance through the camps with rubbery exuberance, trailed by younger children, all lost in the moment, the most important in the world. Kites battle kites, their makers yanking their lines to cut each other’s, as the kites whirl and spin. When one kite wins, the jubilation is explosive. It’s one of the few signs of joy you see in Haiti, entirely handmade.”
Haiti still needs a huge amount of help. Here’s one way that was featured recently on the Daily Grommet: buying hand-embroidered nightgowns, napkins, and other linens, made by a Women’s Sewing Cooperative in Fonds des Blancs, a program of Haiti Projects.