Canadian Press reports from Port-Au-Prince.
Jean also visited a Canadian-funded school run by nuns, where she drew names in a raffle for youngsters who will receive scholarships.
After surveying the area from a balcony, Jean wandered down and into the streets under a ring of UN blue-helmeted peacekeepers. She waded into the crowd as local performers danced, sang and played the drums for her while hundreds of onlookers cheered from their doorsteps and balconies, and followed her throughout the neighbourhood.
Surely the scene is approximately the same whenever the Prime Minister returns to Calgary, right?
Earlier in the Governor General’s trip she demurred at a request to comment on the political situation back home, but she has spoken candidly of the brutality her parents endured in Haiti, the signs of progress she sees there, and the significance of Barack Obama.
“It’s a crucial step in history – not only for the United States – to have an African-American in the White House. It was made possible because a majority of Americans wanted to really write this new chapter in their history. In doing so, I think they’re doing something crucial not only for them but for humanity as a whole…
“You can’t help but recall that this country that will see an African-American enter the White House, whose citizens decided to send an African-American to the White House, was a country built from segregation. We realize the degree to which this is a major step – not just for the United States, not just for blacks throughout the world, but for all of humanity. We will all remember forever, I believe, where we were and what we were doing on that (election night of) Nov. 4, 2008.”
Jean is hosting 125 young people at Rideau Hall on Tuesday to watch and discuss Obama’s inauguration.