January 16, 2010

Yèle Haiti

As we are all well aware by now, Tuesday evening, January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti, leaving the country in ruins with an unquantifiable death toll of possibly more than 50,000.

My heart is so full... I weep for Haiti almost daily....

When I awoke to the horrific news on Wednesday morning, I immediately thought of my Haitian friend and colleague, Brenda.  I picked up the phone to call her, but as I was listening to the reports on public radio, I began to weep again.  The journalists were trying to reconnect an aid worker in Haiti and his girlfriend here in the U.S.  Apparently the two lost communication during the quake.  Through her relief to find her boyfriend alive, the young woman discovered that her youngest relative, a 15-month old niece, had been killed in the disaster.  At this moment, I crumbled into sobs, unable to finish my phone call...  I pictured my 15-month old, chubby baby terrified and dying in my arms.  I sobbed uncontrollably all the way to work.

When I finally saw Brenda later that day, her eyes were red from a night of misery.  She told me that her parents were in Haiti on vacation, and that, aside from two siblings who lived here in the states, her entire family still lived in Haiti.  With that, we embraced, each fearing the worst.

Finally, after two long and miserable days, unable to reach the American Embassy and no word from anyone, Brenda received a phone call from her stepfather on Friday morning.  Everyone was alive.  Everyone was homeless, but everyone was alive!  They had somehow made it to the Dominican Republic.

Although Brenda's long nightmare had ended, so many hundreds of thousands would not experience this  relief, this peace, this blessing.

Thousands will not be afforded a proper burial either because those who would bury them are also in need of burying or because the dead bodies are now unidentifiable.  Thousands of Haitians living in the West will search for their families for desperately long periods of time before pronouncing them dead. Thousands of Haitians will join a new diaspora and become refugees yet again. Thousands of children have become orphans overnight.  And a country of almost 10 million living below the poverty line have become even more destitute and marginalized than before the Earthquake of 2010.

I can only weep, pray, and donate.  Please join me.  http://www.yele.org