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  • November28th

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    Pulling up to a polling station, I am met by a group of angry young men. When I am able to get to the bottom of their anger, the men lead me to the body of a dead woman lying across the sidewalk. My first reaction was to call out to the policemen across the street. One of the four men just laughed as the entire group kept strolling. The UN drove by and just stared at me down the barrel of high caliber machine guns. I ask the local men why the police do not take care of this and their response was a collective, “They don’t give a F*&K.” After asking no less than a dozen police officers how I could help, I received no information of value. Behind me, during this process, was a media blitz and an Italian cameraman who was yelling at me for getting into his shot.





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  • November28th

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    CNN producer note
    JOHNNYCOLT is in Haiti to cover the post-earthquake recovery and the country’s elections..
    - davidw, CNN iReport producer

    I follow my Haitian friend, Gaston Elso, as he goes to the polling stations in an attempt to cast his vote. What starts as a quick and simple story turns into an epic of roadblocks to cast a simple Haitian vote.





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  • November27th

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    CNN producer note
    JOHNNYCOLT says many Haitians are having trouble voting because their names are not on the voter rolls.
    - jsarverCNN, CNN iReport producer

    I have followed Gaston Elso through six polling stations on his journey to vote. His name appears on none of the lists that show who is eligible to vote: the voter rolls. Mr. Elso holds a voter registration card as well as a license from the CEP that allows him to drive, today, yet he is struggling to find a way to vote. According to Mr. Elso, this is a serious problem and we may expect tension and public displays of anger by late afternoon. I saw many Haitians coming in and out of the polling stations who were frustrated by the same experience that Mr. Elso is experiencing.





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  • November26th

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    CNN producer note
    JOHNNYCOLT interviews fellow iReporter RoseannD who lives full time in Haiti. She is working in the only cholera clinic that services the Cabaret region of Haiti.
    - jsarverCNN, CNN iReport producer

    I interviewed Superstar iReporter RoseannD (Roseann Denery.)
    Roseann lives full time in Haiti. She is in the business of healing the sick as a member of the NGO Samaritan’s Purse. She is working in the only cholera clinic that services the Cabaret region. Roseann’s iReports are filled with a bittersweet quality. She shows Haiti’s hard reality but, at the same time, reminds us that the human spirit does triumph. It was an honor to get the chance to meet another iReporter in the field.





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  • November25th

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    Snapshot from the slums of Cité Soleil

    Posted in: Blog

    Heading into the heart of Cité Soleil, we attempt to find victims of cholera.

    We get a rap song, dirty babies and a post-hospital visit cholera patient that looks like she is knocking on death’s door. We distribute all the medication we have and don’t even put a dent in the numbers.





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  • November24th

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    COFFIN MAKER in CAP-HAITIEN

    Posted in: Blog

    CNN producer note
    JOHNNYCOLT interviewed a coffin maker in Cap Haitien last week as he saw so many building coffins for the victims of the cholera outbreak. There are so many coffin makers, competition is tough. ‘Considering how poor many people are I have wondered how they can afford coffins? Everything that looks metal is actually cheap plastic - the coffin is made of any cheap wood they can find,’ he said.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    Interview with one of the many coffin makers lining the streets of Cap-Haitien.





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  • November23rd

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    UN goes BALLISTIC

    Posted in: Blog

    In this iReport: Haitian citizens speak out against the UN troops.

    On the Morne Rouge road that runs through downtown Cap-Haitien, a UN armored vehicle found itself stuck on a tree stump and was unable to move. Haitians throwing rocks and bottles were met with gunfire from the blue helmets. In this iReport, I was able to convince the man in charge of a checkpoint to speak on the record. Pay close attention to hear him explain that he doesn’t want to be on camera (for fear of retribution and his family seeing him) and that he witnessed three of his friends being killed by UN troops.

    Official reports say that at least two demonstrators have died-one of them shot by a member of the multinational peacekeeping force. This information does not line up with what citizens told me in this iReport. I have submitted my photographs of the bullets holes directly to the UN and am currently awaiting their response. With no media to witness the events, it is a tough task to get to the truth.





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  • November21st

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    CAP-HAITIEN (Machetes, Masks & Money)

    Posted in: Blog

    The following report is my nighttime journey through the apocalyptic city of Cap-Haitien on Nov 19th.

    Cap-Haitien is the second largest city in Haiti. Currently, the city is home to a serious cholera outbreak. The local population have demanded that the UN leave Haiti after speculation that Nepalese peacekeeping forces are responsible for bringing cholera to the country. Cap-Haitien is seeing its third straight day of violent protests. The airport is closed and locals have created makeshift roadblocks in multiplicity along the Limbe Road. Masked men with machetes block anyone from coming in or out of Cap-Haitien. Rumors run wild and reports of gun battles between the UN and the Haitians fill my Twitter screen. With Haiti’s elections less than two weeks away, the environment is becoming increasingly unstable…

    My driver, Gaston Elso, was speeding along when he hit some unfinished road construction, lost control of the wheel and almost flipped our car into a ditch. The Montero came to a sliding halt with one wheel suspended over the drop just like in the movies. I looked over at Gaston, still gripping his steering wheel with one hand while making the sign of the cross with the other. Only an hour and a half outside of Port-au-Prince and my heart was already in my throat. Realizing that we were out of danger, we began laughing our asses off. I knew, right then, that this trip to Cap-Haitien was destined for my own personal highlight reel.

    Midway through the eight-hour trip, our car broke down. We were high in the mountains of central Haiti. My fear was less that we wouldn’t make it to Cap-Haitien and more that we would be trying to negotiate our way through roadblocks full of angry people in the middle of the Haitian night.

    Leaving Gaston’s car behind, we make our way to Cap-Haitien in the bed of a white pickup truck. As predicted, the sun was setting as we drew close to Cap-Haitien. The locals began to shout insults as I passed by. After three days of heavy violence, the streets were scarred with signs of conflict.

    It was completely dark by the time we made it to our third checkpoint. It was either push forward and try to negotiate our way through the rest of the checkpoints and reach the safety of a hotel or turn back and take our chances in what had become an inhospitable countryside.

    Waving a machete in our direction, it was hard to understand what the man was yelling through the motorcycle helmet on his head. A young masked man wielding a strange antenna-like weapon smacked the rod across the front of a scooter to bring it to a stop while shouting at the top of his lungs in ragged Kreyol. The checkpoint was clearly run by the man with the machete. I would have sworn these men were high on drugs, but these Haitians are too poor to buy drugs. Even though there is rum on the men’s breath, I realize that these men are actually drunk on anger and desperation.

    To my left is my media man and fellow adventurer, Harold Sellers. Harold’s eyes grow as big as the moon lighting our way when the sound of machetes being dragged along the road and the sparks they create arrest our attention. I yell for Harold to film and he yells back, “Are you F&%king crazy? The bright lights of a camera will get us killed.” To Harold’s left, tires are burning while creating a sadistic campfire scene. The Haitian version of the “Lord of the Flies” are surrounding us on all sides. Bottles come sailing into my last-minute view and smack the ground with a pop, then a tinkle. One strangely well dressed fellow is munching on my favorite brand of Haitian coconut crackers while smiling ten inches from my face. I appear to be his night’s entertainment. His eyes follow me with delight as I start negotiating my way out of the hands of the man wearing the motorcycle helmet.

    The fire flickers bodies into silhouettes. People’s fury dances all around us. The whole village is now on the street for this affair. Things are getting ugly-and I do mean ugly. To avoid bloodshed, we need permission from the locals who built this roadblock to go around the huge tree they have cut down to create an impassable obstacle. That permission comes in the form of money. Despite my shrewd negotiating skills and my declaration to the bosses of the roadblocks that “I ain’t nobody’s bitch,” my pockets are growing empty, quickly.





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  • November20th

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    Cap-Haitien

    Posted in: Blog

    CNN producer note
    JOHNNYCOLT spent a few days in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, as locals rioted in the streets, burned tires and blamed the UN for the spread of cholera. ‘Most of the Haitians in Cap-Haitien were very specific and articulate about what they want. They want the UN out, not just because of the cholera. It’s everything,’ he said. ‘Women and kids would yell insults at you. It was venomous. And everyone was incredibly angry. You’d have to be stupid not be scared of guys waiving machetes and broken bottles. Everyone is on motorcycles, not speaking your language.’
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    Troubled times in Cap-Haitien. Reporting from the ground in Haiti.





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  • November12th

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    “All she needed was an IV.” - Heartbreak in Haiti

    Posted in: Blog

    CNN producer note
    JOHNNYCOLT has been to Haiti several times and continues to follow developments there: ‘St. Damiens Hospital has set up 400 cots to help Cholera patients, the numbers coming through the door are growing.’
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    “I have personally witnessed one death this morning.” Those are the last words I heard from Bryn Mooser of Artists for Peace and Justice as he headed back into St. Damien Hospital to care for cholera patients.

    Haiti is said to be in a state of panic over the cholera situation. Misinformation and rumors run wild. The population is learning about cholera mostly through the radio. St. Damien Hospital has set up a special cholera area and has begun receiving a steady stream of patients.

    Conan Conaboy is a nurse that has been working in Haiti for eleven years with Father Rick Frechette-the man who started St. Damien Hospital. Conan had this to say about what he is experiencing at St. Damien Hospital: “The cholera that we are seeing now is coming from Port-au-Prince. A big difficulty is that both the mothers and children are getting sick. Especially if the mother is breast-feeding. The mother is unable to care for the baby and produce breast milk. The other problem we are seeing is children coming from orphanages-all of whom are getting sick, together.”

    Doctors Without Borders have set up clinics throughout the capitol. These clinics are filling up, quickly. St. Damien has set up over 400 cots to support the growing cholera community.

    Bryn Mooser has been working around the clock and has contacted me numerous times with updates. Bryn shared this heartbreaking story with me: “This morning, Diona came to our hospital in the back of a car with her brother and sister. She got severe diarrhea at 1:00 a.m. this morning. She spent hours getting turned away from different hospitals because they didn’t want to be contaminated. All she needed was an IV. By the time we took her in, it was too late. At 5:30 a.m. this morning, she was dead. Her brother and sister are in disbelief. I tried to console them as best I could. But, what could I say? Sadly, this is happening all over Haiti. Some walk hours carrying their dying children only to be turned away for not having two dollars to pay for the IV.”

    Diona’s case is even more troubling because Diona never left Port-au-Prince, meaning she contracted cholera in the capital.

    pic 1 Bryn Mooser by Johnny Colt
    pic 2 - 5 by Bryn Mooser





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