Notre Dame's Haiti Program spends time helping in recovering country

By: Rich Molina Email
By: Rich Molina Email

The country of Haiti is still rebuilding more than a year after a massive earthquake.

Notre Dame Associate Professor Tracy Kijewski-Correa is part of the Notre Dame Haiti Program which continues to help Haitian's recover after the January 2010 earthquake.

They hosted a workshop with people in Leagone where 80-90 percent of the buildings were destroyed.

Haiti has no more wood to build with, so many of their buildings were constructed with heavy cinder blocks. That proved deadly for many when the quake hit.

The group from Notre Dame is showing how growing bamboo can help.

Kijewski-Correa said, “It grows fast. You can get a mature wood in a couple of years, where you can't get mature wood for decades. This is something we can introduce and build relatively quickly with if we can get them to culturally except it and get there agricultural sector to develop it. Again well beyond engineering.”

The earthquake was so devastating, Kijewski-Correa says Haiti has many years of rebuilding ahead.

Kijewski-Correa also talked about how a previous earthquake influenced her decision to go into engineering.

She said, “I remember after the Mexico City earthquake when I was a child about ten years old when it happened. I remember watching the footage of that with my grandparents and thinking to myself this is something that shouldn't happen, we should have ways to design against these things. So I think that was my moment when I decided to be an engineer, quite young actually. I felt that my love for math and science could be best utilized by trying to apply that to a setting where I could save life through my designs.”

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