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Must learnedly read, too; in part, of intellectual rigor
|Posted Saturday, September 1, 2007|
|'Clowns Without Borders' group uses laughter to uplift poor Haitians|
|By Ariana Cubillos|
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Haiti's troubles over the years have attracted scores of UN peacekeepers, aid workers and diplomats. The latest arrival? Clowns.
Clowns Without Borders, a group that brings comic relief to conflict-torn areas around the world, visited the impoverished country's largest slum Friday, entertaining patients at a hospital that only a year ago was seeing several gunshot victims each day.
"It's great that we can come and bring a little happiness to people after all the suffering here," said Alba Sarraute, one of three clowns who performed magic tricks and passed out balloons to sick adults and children at a Belgian-run Doctors Without Borders clinic in the Port-au-Prince slum of Cite Soleil.
Patients sat up in their beds and grinned as the clowns went from room to room, playing a saxophone and cracking jokes.
The clowns, all from Spain, are visiting Haiti for 11 days at the invitation of the Spanish Embassy and UNICEF. Members of group came to Haiti last year but could not enter the slum because of clashes between street gangs and UN peacekeepers.
"The people have really welcomed us. It's a pleasure," said Sarraute, as smiling children gathered around her and cheered.
Clowns Without Borders was founded in Spain in 1993 to uplift people in volatile areas "by bringing humour and laughter," according to the group's website. The group also has sent clowns to Sierra Leone, the Palestinian territories and the Balkans.
Haiti is still recovering from a 2004 revolt that toppled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
The country has seen a reduction in street violence and gradual return to order under President Rene Preval.
- On the Net: http://www.clownswithoutborders.org/
|Wehaitians.com, the scholarly journal of democracy and human rights|
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