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North Georgia instructor photographs Haitian life
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Helping Haiti

Photography instructor Jim Loring, in his association with Community Partnership of Rabun, will be sending 100 percent of donations to help those recovering from the earthquake in Haiti and for ongoing projects such as a well and schools. To donate, send a check to Community Partnership of Rabun My World/Haiti, 196 Ridgecrest Circle, Clayton, GA 30525.

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On a trip to Haiti in September, Jim Loring met a woman named Guerda, who was in Port-au-Prince when January's devastating earthquake flattened much of the city.

Her mother and son were inside their home, he said.

"She said everything was lost. They're still under the bricks," Loring said. "That's the story for so many."

Loring, a photography instructor at North Georgia Technical College in Clarkesville, spent his quarter break documenting Haitian life nine months after the quake.

It was an eye-opening trip for Loring and his North Georgia Technical classes.

"By going out and doing this work, I hope I can inspire them to see how important collecting images is, and what an impact it can make," Loring said.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, was hit by a massive 7.1 magnitude earthquake outside the capital of Port-au-Prince Jan. 12.

Estimates indicate that about 250,000 lives were lost and more than a million are still homeless, Loring said.

Local people speak of the double devastation as the impact has spilled beyond the capital.

Many fled to the countryside where there is little infrastructure and people live a subsistence life.

For example, before the earthquake, Denis and Sylvania Desir remembered life being good, he said.

"We had enough to take care of our family," Denis said to Loring.

"Now I see only death in front of me."

Loring photographed the life they lead now, living in a shack and sleeping on cardboard each night.

"It was just heart wrenching," Loring said. "A lot of people are still in shock. It takes a long time to get over that and decide how to move forward."

Loring is no stranger when it comes to covering the work of major relief and development agencies.

For more than 20 years, he has traveled to all corners of the world and completed more than 60 international assignments.

In Haiti, Loring met with relief workers from Partners in Health and Operation Blessing.

"What drives me is wanting to connect and understand the world we live in," he said.

Loring said recovery work in Haiti will take years. There is a primary need for long-term planning for community infrastructure and education for children.

Rubble removal is another indication of the catastrophe's daunting scale.

"They say it would take 1,000 trucks 1,000 days to clear up the rubble," Loring said. "And they can't just take a bulldozer onto property. They need to find out who the owner is and what they want to happen to the site."

Like many international disasters, Loring said Haiti has fallen from the headlines.

Loring said while he loves his teaching job, he felt a responsibility as a photojournalist to capture the struggles Haitians are facing and show there is still a need.

"It's something I can't walk away from," he said.


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