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Privileged to Serve in Haiti

Christophe Lobry-Boulanger is a long-time N.Y. Red Cross volunteer who formerly served as a program manager in the organization’s International Services division. He arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, at the beginning of February to assist with earthquake relief as a member of a Red Cross Relief Emergency Response Unit.

Part of Lobry-Boulanger’s assignment was to improve distribution systems and address the shelter needs of earthquake survivors. While he found the situation understandably difficult, he emphasized that the Red Cross had successfully worked "to involve the Haitian community and make it their own recovery process."

But Lobry-Boulanger realized that the elderly and disabled people of Haiti face even more enormous recovery challenges, having fewer ways to protect themselves and receive assistance. “They are too frail to stand in line,” he said, “and are bedridden or in wheelchairs." So, on Valentine's Day he and his team loaded a Red Cross relief truck with blankets, pillows and hygiene kits to distribute to the residents of two nursing homes. The occupants of one of the homes had been moved into tents in a park in front of their damaged residence.

By the end of the afternoon, he said that the Haitians his team helped “felt that someone had cared for them that day; that they mattered.” Lobry-Boulanger added, "As often occurs with the Red Cross, we were the ones feeling privileged to be given the opportunity to do something meaningful and to be of service."