Haitian Volunteers Lend A Hand In Rebuilding Efforts

Anthony Gaspard traded his law books for a shovel Monday afternoon. He was joined by about 20 others of Haitian descent. They were all lending a hand with cleaning up the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.

"I felt it was very necessary to come and help out the people down here because we saw the devastation on television," Gaspard said.

"At first we started collecting money, and sending money out here, but it wasn't enough, but I said we need to be there physically," said Quetel Osterval of the Haitian Community Development Foundation.

Osterval coordinated the trip. He says the volunteers were eager to help out and can relate with the struggles South Mississippians are facing.

"In Haiti, when hurricane wiped the country out. We had basically no help, but the Americans always tried to send someone out there and help us out. We said it's our turn. We're not doing this for any reciprocity," Osterval said.

There are 250 Haitian volunteers here in South Mississippi this week. They're working on projects ranging from Hancock County to Jackson County.

"We want people to know when the hurricane goes by, it wipes out everybody. It doesn't matter who you are, Haitian, American. The key is we need help. We need to focus on putting things back to normal. Their heritage is rooted in one of the poorest countries in the world. Here they are showing they have plenty of heart and goodwill to go around," Osterval said.