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Heart-break in Haiti

Heroes Remember

Heart-break in Haiti

There was a lot of garbage around. And, in fact, one of the things that we tried to do was get a garbage collection running. It’s fair to say that there really wasn’t much in the way of government or municipal services functioning when I got there in 1996. It was a very interesting time in terms of trying to get a number of the basic things functioning. When I got there folks only got electricity once every four days as an example and usually during 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. So not a lot of power and pretty much at the wrong time of the day. It was difficult to see folks struggling the way that they would in tough economic conditions. In the slums, communities were tight. They didn’t have a lot but what they did have they tried to pull together and work. It was in some ways heart-breaking to watch people living in shacks made out of four pieces of tin roofing. Thankfully the climate is quite warm and the coldest night of the year when I was there, the temperature plummeted all the way down to +24 degrees but, you know, it was heart-breaking. They would build these shelters in the open water raceways. The capital cities actually built on a hillside so when it rains heavily the water would collect into these almost like giant moats and because people would have built their lean-to in these places we used to lose about two hundred people every time it rained. They would literally be washed out to sea. That was really heart-breaking. And we tried to get them not to do that but, you know, they had a free wall and so they would continue to do that and just hope that they would be one of the lucky ones who would get taken away.

Witnessing the poor living conditions and lack of electricity, Mr. Mac Culloch shares his story of the sense of heart-break he felt towards the Haitian people.

Wayne Mac Culloch

Wayne Mac Culloch was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, in 1953 and grew up in Quebec. He began his studies at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, at the age of 18 and would serve as a military engineer in the Canadian Armed Forces for more than 40 years. During his long and varied career, Mr. Mac Culloch served across Canada and took part in three overseas deployments to the Balkans and one to Haiti before being medically discharged with the rank of major. Still having a passion to serve, he went on to work as a civilian employee with the Department of National Defence. Since 2004, Mr. Mac Culloch has volunteered his time and talents to help deliver the “Peace Module” during the Historica Encounters with Canada program in Ottawa. Week after week, he has engaged with youth from coast to coast and educated them about the sacrifices and achievements of Canadians who have served in uniform over the years.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
November 9, 2016
Person Interviewed:
Wayne Mac Culloch
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Armed Forces

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