Church of St. Pierre in Baradères, Haiti

St. Pierre parish, Baradères, Haiti — sister parish of St. John the Baptist Catholic Community, Silver Spring, Md. 

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Haiti: Giving Hope a Second Chance

These days, Caman is guardedly optimistic about the future. A doctor he met through friends of Chans Altenativ diagnosed his daughter with rickets. Since beginning her vitamin treatments and physical therapy Jasmine is beginning to walk. “I wasted so much time before I got on track with Chans Altenativ,” Caman says.

The members of Chans Altenativ have ideas for expansion. The group have recently acquired a new location that will be their own and they have plans to open a restaurant—a venture that will help members by creating employment and raising funds for the program. A weekly hour-long radio show hosted by Chans Altenativ members also is being launched. It will increase the group’s outreach and discuss issues of interest to young people.

“At least we can help others understand where they are, learn from our mistakes and know they are not alone.” Caman says. That is perhaps the most potent hope that Michelle Karshan, Caman, and the other members of Chans Altenativ hold out to newly arriving deportees like Patrick Etienne.

©2000 Donna DeCesare

Donna DeCesare, a freelance photographer in New York City, is researching and illustrating youth identity and gang violence in the Americas.



At Forte Nacional, where children, women and youths are incarcerated, more than 40 youths share the same cell. There are no school classes or trade workshops here. Most of these boys are 16 years old. A few are younger. Some claim membership in Base Big Up and other gangs. One thing is certain, without training or rehabilitative programs of any kind to offer alternatives to street life, many of these boys will find their way into criminal gangs when they are released, even if they weren’t already involved.

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