Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Canadian country singer Paul Brandt inspired to give back in Haiti

HAITI — The narrow streets of Port-au-Prince are an array of sights, sounds and contrasts. Bunches of bold-coloured “tap tap” buses rattle past muted grey cinder walls, and a dusty haze hangs over Haiti’s green mountains. Cars, people and motorbikes weave in and out of traffic, barely avoiding one another while navigating gaping potholes that lay in wait, large enough to swallow entire vehicles.

It’s dizzying and exhilarating.

For a place that has encountered so much loss, this city is alive — raw, busy, loud, difficult, but so alive.

I’ve arrived in Haiti with country superstar Paul Brandt and his Build It Forward Foundation, which exists to raise money and awareness to help people in practical ways, both locally and globally. The trip included visits to recently completed projects funded by the foundation, while learning and listening first-hand about some of the daily challenges at hand.

Brandt’s relationship with Haiti began during a visit in 2011 to film a television series for CMT Canada. That was a year after a massive earthquake struck, devastating the already struggling nation, and killing an estimated (and often disputed) 100,000 to 300,000 people.

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