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April 9, 2011

Petra Gets Wired

Czech model Petra Nemcova, famous for surviving the Asian tsunami, is putting her fame to good use — getting computers to kids. Her latest stop: Haiti. Here, excerpts from her diary.

petra nemcova tsunami survivor

Photo Credit: Sarah Stacke

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Before I visited Haiti, I'd heard a lot of bad things about it. "Oh, there's no hope for Haiti," people said. "Forget about it." They couldn't have been more wrong. True, the country is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, and people often have to eat mud cakes - yes, actual cakes made of mud - to fill their stomachs. And I'd heard about the sprawling slum called Cite Soleil, where for years people lived in fear of getting machine-gunned down by gangs. But the country has come a long way, thanks in part to a U.N. peacekeeping force, and the Haiti I saw was a beautiful place filled with hope. I traveled to the capital city, Port-au-Prince, with Haiti's native son, singer Wyclef Jean, and we worked together to bring computers to a school near his hometown. For the past few years, I've been helping to build computer labs around the world through my organization, the Happy Hearts Fund, which I started up after the tsunami in 2004. Here's how my latest trip went.

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