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'Haitians are absolute survivors:' Kentucky volunteer on turmoil in Haiti

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Posted at 11:23 PM, Aug 18, 2021

(LEX 18) — Thousands of miles away from Haiti, Kelly Rowe has been paying close attention to the ongoing turmoil that has engulfed that country.

"We want to go back," said Rowe, who has made three missionary trips to the country. "Unfortunately, with the political situation and how it's been over the last few years, it's just not safe enough to return."

Haiti is reeling from a 7.2. magnitude earthquake Saturday that has left nearly 2,000 people dead.

The earthquake came just a little more than a month after the president of Haiti was assassinated, raising serious questions about the future of the country's leadership.

"[The earthquake] just added to their level of uncertainty," Rowe said. "Which is constant for them."

As the principal at Good Shepherd Catholic School in Frankfort, Rowe said that during her trips to Haiti, she was deeply touched by the resilience of the Haitian people, especially the children.

"The Haitians are absolute survivors," Rowe said. "And they have a spirit that I don't think can be broken easily."

Rowe's first missionary trip to Haiti came in 2015. She returned for two consecutive years to help build orphanages.

She said that the last time she was there, it was clear Haiti was still recovering from a massive earthquake that devastated the country in 2010.

"They were still feeling the effects," Rowe said. "Over my three years there, you didn't see a lot of progress."

Rowe said that she believes generational change is needed to bring political stability to the country. Until then, she is worried that uncertainty in the political arena will hamper recovery efforts.

"I don't think you can rebuild if you don't have a strong leader," she said.