Trauma healing not just for earthquake survivors
Haitians teach each other how to break cycle of violenceBy Sheldon C. Good Mennonite Weekly Review
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — With dignified humility, Edouarnus Estivil calls himself a direct victim of the January 2010 earthquake. It destroyed his Port-au-Prince home. It paralyzed his sister, and it killed his mother, the head of his household.
The earthquake, it seems, altered his life forever. A year later, his life was altered once again — by a trauma-healing training.
“After the earthquake, I didn’t know how I was going to face life. I wasn’t sure how I could go on,” said Estivil, 30. “The trauma training allowed me to give another direction to my life and set some goals.”
The training helped him begin to process trauma stemming from various aspects of his life, not just from the earthquake.
“Before I took the training, I didn’t know the level of sickness inside of me,” he said. “Now I know.”
Wozo, the organization that runs the trauma-healing program, began in October 2010 with funds from six denominations and organizations, including Mennonite Central Committee and the Church of the Brethren.
The Haitian program is an adaptation of Eastern Mennonite University’s Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience program, which began after the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. The program also addresses the broader topics of conflict, justice and peace.
Wozo, which has secured funding until 2013, is the first trauma- healing program spawned by EMU that has workers in-country.
And it’s growing quickly, partly thanks to Estivil.
After conducting research in southeast Haiti with Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, or CRWRC, he learned that while some people had received lots of material support from multiple organizations, none of them received trauma healing.
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