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Observations From Our Man in Haiti

January 12, 2011
OVER 2500 GATHER FOR SPECIAL "SINEMA ANBA ZETWAL" IN TOMASEN, HAITI

On a barren and dusty soccer field in Tomasen, Haiti, thousands of Haitians gathered last night for an emotional "Sinema Anba Zetwal" (SAZ). From tears and smiles to hugs and laughter, tonight's crowd was treated to diverse multi-media program: Poignant films documenting last year's earthquake, a troupe of clowns delighting the younger participants, uplifting performances by Haitian singing sensations Tifane and Jean Bernard Thomas, and short films of everyday Haitians speaking to camera about their fears, dreams, hopes and frustrations. SAZ also screened a historical film about famed ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax's work in Haiti during the 1930s. Participants who shared their stories on stage or on camera were also presented with a multiple gifts from SAZ sponsors, including solar lamps from EarthSpark Intl.

The SAZ in Tomasen was sponsored by Fastforward, the Green Family Foundation and Voila. Since February 2010, SAZ has toured in 9 cities along the fault line, bringing education through state of the art screenings, multimedia and performing arts to Haitian communities. Reaching more than 250,000 Haitians, these events have brought relief and raised awareness on issues such as hygiene, environment, culture, gender equity, healthcare and importantly, dealing with post-traumatic stress.

--Robert Becker