Support our mission
 
Hundreds of high school students of Lycee du Cite Soleil, in the impoverished neighborhood of Port au Prince, Haiti, line the balconies and file in to collect free school supplies handed out by U.S. soldiers and Marines.
Hundreds of high school students of Lycee du Cite Soleil, in the impoverished neighborhood of Port au Prince, Haiti, line the balconies and file in to collect free school supplies handed out by U.S. soldiers and Marines. (Sandra Jontz / S&S)
Hundreds of high school students of Lycee du Cite Soleil, in the impoverished neighborhood of Port au Prince, Haiti, line the balconies and file in to collect free school supplies handed out by U.S. soldiers and Marines.
Hundreds of high school students of Lycee du Cite Soleil, in the impoverished neighborhood of Port au Prince, Haiti, line the balconies and file in to collect free school supplies handed out by U.S. soldiers and Marines. (Sandra Jontz / S&S)
U.S. Marines, soldiers and employees of Lycee du Cite Soleil unpack 480 school kits distributed to the high school students on Tuesday.
U.S. Marines, soldiers and employees of Lycee du Cite Soleil unpack 480 school kits distributed to the high school students on Tuesday. (Sandra Jontz / S&S)

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti — U.S. Marines and soldiers paid a quick visit Tuesday to a high school in the poverty-stricken area of Cite Soleil, armed with bags of school supplies furnished by an American humanitarian aid organization.

One student, 23-year-old Patrick Belizaire, wasn’t impressed.

“I don’t like the color of the bag,” he said in English without even glancing at the contents inside — notebooks, pens, pencils and the like.

His reaction mirrored that of several others, feedback that frustrated some troops, who baked in the afternoon heat in all their protective gear to dole out the 480 kits.

“If they’re thinking about the color of the bag, [it] probably means they don’t need the supplies,” said one Marine.

Food for the Poor, a nongovernmental agency based near Miami, Fla., coordinated Tuesday’s supply run, along with many similar projects, with the Army’s 96th Civil Affairs Battalion out of Fort Bragg, N.C., providing the soldiers the needed supplies and information to the school, Lycee du Cite Soleil.

The high school sits in the center of the impoverished area, amid houses made of sheet metal and piles of garbage and raw sewage gathering along the pockmarked streets — home to many of the school’s students.

While such food, toys or school-supply distribution projects are out of the 96th Civil Affair Battalion’s scope of duties, the city isn’t quite safe enough to have civilian NGOs come in and distribute themselves, said Army Capt. Fernando Montoya.

“We facilitate the distribution and ask the Marines to come in and help us with the security,” he said. That security task Tuesday fell on India Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Belizaire and other students might have missed the point of Tuesday’s distribution, but said they’re grateful the Americans are in Haiti.

“I am very happy. They give me security and I thank you for this,” Belizaire said.

And when pressed about whether the color of the bag made all that much difference, Belizaire voiced gratitude.

“OK, this is good. I don’t like this color,” he said holding up the mauve fabric bag, “but, thank you for this.”

Migrated

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up