* Photo supplied. Devastation: Teacher Leyde St. Leger, whose parents are Haitian, visits the wreckage of family friend’s collapsed house.
* Photo supplied. Devastation: Teacher Leyde St. Leger, whose parents are Haitian, visits the wreckage of family friend’s collapsed house.
A teacher has returned from Haiti to a hero's welcome - but "feels the itch to go back already".

Leyde St. Leger is back from a second relief trip to the earthquake-ravaged country, where he handed out food bought with Bermudian donations.

The 33-year-old revealed it feels "good to be back in Bermuda" and was welcomed by "smiles on students' faces and hugs from colleagues" at Sandys Secondary Middle School, where he is a M2 team leader and math teacher.

But Mr. St. Leger, known as Mr. Saint to students, admitted his work in Haiti is "far from over".

He may return this month and will go back for two weeks in April "without question".


Mr. St. Leger said returning to Bermuda made him feel "like a deserter" as his heart belongs in Haiti.

He added: "People ask me everyday, 'How was the trip?' They almost seem shocked when I say, 'Haiti is chaos. It looks like a war zone. There are people dying as we speak.'

"People expect to hear that everything is good and okay. It's not."

Reflecting on his latest trip, Mr. St. Leger said: "The nightmares will lessen, the talking out loud in Creole while sleeping will eventually cease and perhaps sleep will consist of more than 59 minutes at a time. I'm okay. I feel more upbeat and spirited than I have in a long time. I am blessed."

Mr. St. Leger, who was born in New York to Haitian parents, spent a week in the country at the end of last month with a fraternity brother from Alpha Phi Alpha. He also went to Haiti to "help his people" just days after the massive earthquake on January 12.

Mr. St. Leger receives daily updates on the needs of Haiti.

Last weekend he travelled to New York to speak at a Haiti Relief Gospel Concert at the City Tabernacle of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Harlem. He said: "Two weeks of my life was inscribed in the midst of chaos and I made it out with just a bum knee.

"But even from Bermuda I will continue to raise and pump 100 per cent of donations to the people."

Mr. St. Leger kept an online blog during his trip detailing how the sound of gunshots put him to sleep like counting sheep and how he needed a haircut as a child said he looked like R&B artist R. Kelly.

He witnessed tent cities and people bathing in the streets and dreaded raindrops as "with the rain comes fear" of floods, landslides, sickness and spread of diseases. In one emotional blog entry, Mr. St. Leger wrote: "I'm crying so hard it's hard to see the screen.

"I've cried in a way that makes me shake my head from side to side because all I can do is shrug my shoulders when I think why."

Mr. St. Leger bought and distributed hundreds of bags of rice and packages of spaghetti, which is "like sirloin to Haitians". He worked "beyond exhaustion" and drove around giving out more than 200,000 servings of food.

Some Haitians only eat one meal every five days, so even rice that fell on the floor was swept up to be used.

One woman without a bag wrapped a knot in her vest so the rice could be poured into it.


Mr. St. Leger said "life has begun to creep back" but Haitians are still "traumatised" and "in shock".

Most are still too scared to enter the buildings that survived. He admitted that "making a difference feels good" and he thanked everyone in Bermuda who made donations.

Mr. St. Leger said: "Bermudians have reached so deep to give. Once again, 100 per cent has gone to mouths to feed.

"I am no hero. The hero in all of this is God."

You can read Mr. St. Leger's Haiti blog at www.diaryofanalphaman.com.