Overcoming in Haiti

I traveled to Haiti and took these photos of Gramothe -- a mountain village located 13 miles southeast of Port-au-Prince where a model society is being built. A Haitian-American family is creating an opportunity that inspires villagers in and around Gramothe.

Since 1999, they have built a church, a school and a medical clinic in Gramothe. In 2010, they started construction on a new hospital. Haitians throughout the mountainous region are beginning to see changes. More children are attending classes, the number of crops per family is growing, visitations to the clinic (open only when foreign medical teams arrive) are increasing and the number of people participating in religious services is rising.

However, for most Haitian villagers outside of Gramothe, poverty, malnutrition, corruption and disease are rampant. Most families live in crumbling homes or makeshift tents, struggling daily to find food and work. Many rely on foreign companies or governmental agencies. Conversely, in and around Gramothe, residents are learning to shape their own futures and are embracing a new outlook on life.

The news of progress and promise has recently started to spread. Villagers from nearby areas walk hours or even days to Gramothe for education or attention to a medical ailment.

The possibility of positive change validates the grueling journeys in this mountainous region where infrastructure is poor and unreliable. Roads are crumbling, electricity is sporadic at best, and water is difficult for many to reach.

This photographic essay examines the remaining struggles and advances in the newly hopeful lives of villagers in and around Gramothe.

-- Eric Kruszewski lives in Richland. See a photo gallery at tricityherald.com and more of Eric's photos at erickruszewski.com.