Political Unrest In Haiti Hits Home - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/01/04

Political Unrest In Haiti Hits Home

When news broke of the political insurgence in Haiti, Gautier resident Alice Cox began to worry. Her 30 year old grand daughter, Piper Perreault, was right in the middle of all the commotion.

Perreault, a volunteer with the Peace Corps, was stationed in the Hatian village of Romeo. When trouble started brewing, she and other volunteers were forced to leave the villages where they had been working.

"She had gone to Port-au-Prince and she didn't think it was going to amount to much," Cox said. "She thought she'd spend a little time there and go back to her hometown."

Perreault and the other volunteers were forced to evacuate the capitol when rebels began marching toward Port-au-Prince. The evacuation made it difficult for Piper to contact her grandmother who was growing increasingly concerned as reports of violence and looting poured over the airways.

"I was frantic because I could see all this on TV," said Cox. "They were fighting in the streets and everything else. I knew they were saying it was bad in Port-au-Prince and I knew that's where she was."

Actually her granddaughter and the 77 others were given three hours to board a bus bound for the Dominican Republic. After reaching the neighboring country, they were flown to Washington D.C. for two days. It had been six days since Perreault was able to communicate with her grandmother in Gautier.

"Every morning I would run to the computer to see if I got an e-mail and then I'd cry a little bit," says Cox.

On February 23rd, Piper was able to e-mail her grandmother for the first time in almost one week. She let Cox know about her evacuation and her plans for the future.

"She does plan to go back to Haiti if she can," says Cox. "Her heart is in Haiti."

For the time being Perreault is stationed in the Dominican Republic city of Dajabon where she is working with Haitian refugees.

by Josh Ridgdell

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