Madisson Ledan, a Boynton Beach native and student, visits Haiti ten years after a devastating tragedy and tells his story.
In 2010 Haiti was struck by a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that forever changed the lives of the inhabitants of the Caribbean nation. While the quake lasted just under thirty seconds, estimations put casualties over two hundred and fifty thousand, with over three hundred thousand injured. The damages were widespread, with over two hundred and fifty thousand residential houses destroyed. Ten years later, the nation still finds itself reaming from the devastation. Even though the country received millions in aid, most of the repairs and efforts came from single individuals, individuals like Madisson Ledan.
“I have family there (Port-au-Prince, Haiti). I knew I wanted to go there to help. It was like the earthquake had struck my home.” Madisson Ledan stayed with his family in their home while visiting Haiti. Far from Boynton Beach, FL, Madisson Ledan said the “biggest shock to me was just how many people were still living in tents ten years later.” Recent reports say that over fifty thousand people are still living in humanitarian camps.
“Most families rely on farming and the land to make a living, which means they are very affected by natural disasters. Their entire lives are uprooted when something like an earthquake hits.” Says Madisson Ledan. ” I had no farming or gardening experience to help them there, but I did all I could, I helped gather water and, in some cases, broke rocks to help families with building efforts.” He also assisted in repairing housing walls and roofing. Madisson Ledan says his most significant moment of personal joy was helping a man with his radio. “Most of my electrical experience comes from video games or tinkering with computers, but seeing the joy on this man’s face made me know I was doing something worthwhile that would make a difference.”
Madisson Ledan says the most prominent emotion in these camps is a disappointed feeling. That the government and foreign aid charities promised to fix things but didn’t, many people feel forgotten or pushed aside. “My family was lucky, but many were not, and those families want to feel noticed.” Says Madisson Ledan. ” I think people overseas think the fight is over, but it is not. People are still suffering; many families do not have homes. Until every person is better off, then the fight is not over.”
Madisson Ledan goes on to say how the entire experience changed his perspective. “We have to work together to thrive. At home, or in school, you get caught up in yourself. But, when disaster strikes, you do not want to go through it alone… while it is disheartening to see so many still. without a home, I am glad that there is a large amount of help coming in.” Madisson is currently enrolled in college and wishes to form a school club dedicated to assisting and bringing attention to those in Haiti or any other victims of natural disasters.