French and Creole speakers key to Red Cross relief effort

    French and Creole speakers gathered last week at the Red Cross’s Center City headquarters to learn the basics of volunteering the Red Cross way. The agency wants these volunteers to help first with outreach to local residents affected by the earthquake. One day, perhaps, they can help on the island itself.

    Caption: Haitian Jean Daley and Philadelphia area resident Dr. Deborah Derman

    French and Creole speakers gathered last week at the Red Cross’s Center City headquarters to learn the basics of volunteering the Red Cross way. The agency wants these volunteers to help first with outreach to local residents affected by the earthquake. One day, perhaps, they can help on the island itself.

    Listen:
    [audio:100121LFREDCROSS.mp3]

    Dr. Deborah Derman hasn’t been to Haiti, but the images on the news motivated her.

    Derman: I actually had just started re-taking French lessons a couple of years ago. Never realizing that maybe today would be the reason I’m learning again.

    Tow truck driver Jean Dely moved here 16 years ago from Haiti. He still has family and friends on the island. He speaks French and Creole and says he wants to help the Red Cross in any way he can.

    Dely: Oh man I have tears coming out of my eyes. My mom, my two brothers and sister, my cousin in Port-Au Prince one of them got her legs cut off because of what happened.

    Dely says he’s trying to gather clothing and other supplies for the earthquake victims. Sitting next to him, Derman offers to donate what she can. She says she’d like Dely to teach her some Creole.

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