Arcade Fire star Will Butler was left reeling during a recent trip to Haiti as he struggled to comprehend the scenes of "suffering and chaos".
The cult Canadian rockers thrilled music fans in the nation's capital Port-au-Prince last month (Mar11) when they played a surprise show, and they spent the rest of their trip visiting the temporary camps set up in the city following last year's (10) devastating earthquake.
Butler admits the experience was overwhelming for him, and he has opened up about what he witnessed in a series of posts on his blog.
He writes, "Port-au-Prince is, well, it is hard to take in. In parts of the city the suffering and chaos are beyond my comprehension - people living, not in tents, but under tarps stretched across walls made of junk and rope.
"People living in these structures all the way up to the edge of the road - all the way down into the slopes of the drainage ditches. And the drainage ditches aren't draining. Garbage and garbage fires are everywhere.
"The sense of tragedy piled upon tragedy came to me with the story of the schools in the camps. They weren't exactly schools because of the lack of manpower and infrastructure. But additionally, there is pressure from outside sources and the government not to designate official schools in the camps.
"They don't want to 'incentivize' people to stay in the camps - implying that the more permanent services that are installed, the less likely people are to leave. But people aren't likely to leave no matter what. Because there's nowhere to go."
But Butler refuses to be downbeat about his trip, insisting he feels "hopeful" for Haiti's future because of the dedication of aid workers in the country.
He adds, "Our trip to Haiti was not a sad trip. I did not leave the country despairing, overcome by tales of poverty and woe. There is massive suffering, yes, and poverty. But we spent the whole trip in the company of people who were active - people who were either helping to rebuild Haiti, or healing the sick, or creating art and music, or educating themselves. It was exciting. I feel hopeful."
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