Piece originally ran on Thursday, January 21, 2010 in The Nashua Telegraph and The Cabinet Press
Assignment of a lifetime
In his work as a reporter, Rony Camille accepted all kinds of assignments.
Last week, the 25-year-old Nashua resident and former Milford Cabinet reporter created one for himself – perhaps his most important news-gathering mission yet.
Camille’s parents, Nicholson and Ketlie Camille, were both born and raised in Haiti.
In the days after the earthquake, Nicholson Camille heard that his father had survived. Ketlie Camille, though, was still waiting anxiously to hear if members of her extended family had survived the 7.0 quake, which killed tens of thousands of Haitians.
“When she said she couldn’t take it anymore, I said, ‘I have to go,’ ” Rony Camille said. “I wanted to go just to ease her pain … She hasn’t slept in a week. I wanted to make sure everyone was fine and get all the news I could. That was my primary goal.”
Last Friday, Camille parlayed his connection with ABC News to get to the Dominican Republic early Saturday morning. There, in the capital of Santo Domingo, he helped stock news crews traveling into Haiti.
By Sunday, Camille was relieved of that duty. He and a cousin then managed to buy tickets to Haiti, joining doctors, nurses, Haitians who had gone to the Dominican for supplies, and people like him – people just looking for family.
At the border, Camille said, “it was very hectic on both sides,” and at one point, traveling through the lakes region of Malpasse, the bus struck a pothole and nearly tipped over.
At last, after a five-hour ride, Camille reached the neighborhood of his mother’s family, located near the Toussaint L’Ouverture International Airport on the outskirts of Haiti’s capital, Port-Au-Prince.
Camille managed to connect with an uncle and learned that members of his family had survived. Camille text-messaged his mother in New Hampshire and then Tweeted the news.
“I was so relieved,” Camille said.
But the conditions left behind by the earthquake left his family and many others in dire straits. Camille said he was discouraged by the apparent lack of aid in the airport area.
“There are a whole lot of people living in makeshift tents of bed sheets, a whole football field of makeshift tents,” Camille said. “At a gas station, people were fighting over a gallon of gas.”
Camille spent several hours visiting family members, who told him stories of their experience. They were grateful for supplies he’d packed into a suitcase, which included first aid kids, bandages, dried food, bread and money.
After an overnight at an aunt’s house, which withstood the quake, Camille left with promises to return.
“They’re in high spirits,” Camille said, as he recalled hearing people singing church songs in the street. “The Haitian people are people who have gone through a lot. Hurricanes, hunger. These are things they’re used to. But this is on a larger scale.”
Karen Lovett can be reached at 594-6402 or email@example.com.
© 2013, The Telegraph, Nashua, New Hampshire
Re-posted with Permission