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Local Haitian Immigrants Cope With Earthquake's Aftermath

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Jean Yves Pont-du-Jour, better known as Yves Dayiti, places a call for his weekly Haitian radio show on local station WPFW. Pont-du-Jour said this was the most important show he had ever hosted.
Selena Simmons-Duffin
Jean Yves Pont-du-Jour, better known as Yves Dayiti, places a call for his weekly Haitian radio show on local station WPFW. Pont-du-Jour said this was the most important show he had ever hosted.

By David Schultz

Every Saturday night, Ivon Alcime hosts a Haitian radio show on local station WPFW with his co-host Jean Yves Pont-du-Jour. They play Haitian music and chat about what's going on in their home country.

On this weekend's show, Alcime was at a loss for words.

"So first, Ivon, how are you doing?" Pont-du-Jour asks him at the top of their show.

"I don't know what to say," he replies. "I'm here."

Alcime still has family over there, including his sister and her young child.

He says there have been times in the last week where hearing the news has been too much to bear.

"I actually don't watch TV," he says. "I'd rather listen to the news because I don't want to see the actual pictures. Because it's very sad, it's very sad."

And yet Alcime says, despite himself, he's often glued to the television.

"You want to watch TV but you don't want to watch TV," he says. "You want to talk about it but you don't want to talk about it. It's a weird feeling."

Haitians in the D.C. area came together this weekend in a show of strength after the earthquake. Special prayer services for its victims were held at religious communities throughout the region, from a small church in Rockville to the National Cathedral in D.C.

And during their radio show, Alcime and Pont-du-Jour encouraged their listeners to contribute to the rebuilding effort - one way to overcome feelings of powerlessness.

WAMU 88.5

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