HAMMOND | A Purdue University Calumet professor who survived the 2010 Haitian earthquake by just hours has written a book in tribute to the nation, “Brush with Haiti.”
After conducting research in Port-au-Prince in January, 2010, Associate Professor of History Kathleen Tobin returned to the United States, not knowing she had just narrowly missed the catastrophe that occurred only a few miles from where she had been working.
“When I first heard of the earthquake, I could not believe it happened,” Tobin said. “When I left Port-au-Prince just a few hours before, everything seemed fine. The sun was shining as people went off to work and school, and there was a genuinely positive atmosphere in the country.”
The book focuses on Tobin’s personal journey, the history and modern affairs of the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, and her perspective on the world of academia in America and Haiti.
Haiti’s educational system is on the move, according to Tobin. Being part of that movement, whether conducting research or teaching there, which she did after the earthquake, has proven, she said, to be a motivator for other Purdue Calumet faculty members who have traveled to Haiti and observed/worked with the educational system there.
Tobin narrates her travels with a warm fondness for the people she worked with while living in Port-au-Prince during three different time periods.
“What is most amazing about the Haitian people is their resilience,” Tobin said. “They are endlessly resourceful and always optimistic.”
Tobin holds baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees from Calumet College of St. Joseph, Purdue Calumet and the University of Chicago. She has taught Latin American-related topics for more than 20 years. Her recent publication, “Population and Housing in Port-au-Prince: Historical Construction of Urban Vulnerability,” was written for the Journal of Urban History.
“Brush with Haiti” is published by Mill City Press and is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites in both paperback and e-book formats.