Remembering the kindness and needs of the Haitian people

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I have known Garthe Cardozo-Stefanson and Nadine Cardozo- Riedl, the sisters who own the Hotel Montana in Petionville, Haiti, for more than 50 years. Both were mentioned in the Jan. 24 front-page story "A symbol of stability lies shattered in Port-au-Prince."

When my family moved to Haiti in 1958, the Cardozo family basically adopted mine. The Cardozos provided every imaginable type of support and, most important, friendship to a family new to this shockingly different place. Franck and Edna Cardozo, Garthe and Nadine's parents, spared no expense or effort to make us feel welcome, allowing us to use the hotel's facilities free for many weeks, until Mr. Cardozo was able to arrange for us to move into the house next to theirs, just below the hotel.

Among the many tragedies suffered throughout Port-au-Prince, and at the hotel, is the loss of the irreplaceable collection of Haitian art and crafts that the Cardozos acquired over the decades and used to decorate the Hotel Montana.

Over the years, on many return trips to Haiti, I have experienced the Cardozo sisters' courtesy, generosity and hospitality, and I have seen their perseverance in operating one of the finest hotels in the Caribbean under challenging circumstances.

I can only hope and pray that God will give them the strength to perhaps rebuild the hotel and once again provide that symbol of stability and of the kindness and resilience that are so typical of the Haitian people.

Tom Dickinson, Arlington


Regarding the Jan. 25 front-page story "Debate grows on whether U.S. should let more Haitians in":

There is no question that children with urgent medical needs that can't be taken care of in Haiti should be transported to the United States or elsewhere to receive the care they need. But it is important that these children be carefully documented and registered with authorities and that significant efforts are made to reunify the children with family in Haiti before any adoption proceedings are considered.

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