Haitians in the Ottawa area last week gathered to mark the
first anniversary of the earthquake that shattered the Caribbean nation on Jan.
In a touching tribute at the Notre Dame Cathedral, Haitians
reaffirmed their solidarity as they turned up in large numbers to remember the
nearly 250,000 people killed in the disaster.
Haitian born priest Father Joseph Eveillard gave a moving
and emotional eulogy to the packed church and asked Haitians to be optimistic
during these tough times as they remember their lost loved ones.
“There is need for hope and optimism for the future of our
country,” he said.
One year on, approximately 800,000 people are still living
in temporary shelters.
Haiti’s charge d’affairs Nathalie Gissel-Menos told the
audience that Haiti will succeed in its reconstruction.
“2011 is going to be an excellent surprise year for our
recovery,” Menos said.
The Eucharistic celebration was led by Archbishop Terrence
Prendergast, who urged Canadians to continue donating to Haiti’s reconstruction
“It is important that we take time out to honour the victims
of the earthquake and to pray for their families and those left behind,” said Prendergast.
The small nation of about 10 million people has experienced
decades of poverty, violence and political upheaval. But the earthquake dealt a
crushing blow and a year later little there remains much rebuilding work to
“I am here to join my fellow Haitians to remember and
celebrate life of our loved ones,” said Nathalie Ovigne, who lost her mother in
To her, life will never be the same again.
“It is very hard for me to go through this. I keep thinking
of my mother every day.”
Ovigne is appalled that so little has been done to return
the country to anything near normal. “Much has been said, but so little has been