I awoke last night at 1:30 am to the earth shaking violently. The school classroom where we slept reverberated. Dogs and roosters immediately barked and crowed intensely. I wasn’t sure why everyone was staying put, but I woke up my friends and got out of there. My room was not the norm. Other rooms had lights on and everyone had run outside. That was the third earthquake in 24 hours, and there was no way I was going back inside to sleep. I decided to grab my sleeping pad though, and as I approached the steps the ground started to heave again! We are leaving Haiti on a free UN flight today to Santo Domingo, and I am grateful for that. Now it hits home how Haitians live in fear of this every day since January 12th. The rest of the night was relatively peaceful, and today the sun is shining.
At the school which has been temporarily transitioned to a relief worker camp, the classrooms walls are left exactly as they were on January 12th. The earthquake struck around 4:30 in the afternoon and most of the kids were outside playing afterschool sports. The director of the school already had an earthquake action plan and it was put to use. Everyone gathered outside on the soccer field. The teachers and the director drove around Port-au-Prince later that day to bring back orphans who were displaced so they could sleep safely on the school’s soccer field. 35 more rumbles occurred on that long night. The directors called a meeting and in a matter of one hour decided to convert the school campus to a relief worker camp. Three days after the quake a group of trauma surgeons with Humedica (German Humanitarian Aid) arrived and stayed at Quisqueya School. They brought their high-powered equipment for removing limbs, but sadly they wore out after a day and they had to resort to other means such as army knives. (Sorry if this is too much). The 12th grade students were amazing and took to the streets within 3 days to offer their skill of translating for doctors. They’ve been working really hard and are growing up fast! School is still in session here with K-12 classes and 60 students amidst the hustle bustle of relief workers and aid organizations.
Sean Penn showed up at Quisqueya last night! He was really friendly and wanted to hear about our work here. He has apparently been spending a lot of time in Haiti since three days after the quake. Lisa and I are cracking up over an unrelated joke that I cannot share!
Right next door to the demolished house, Dr. Maud’s sister is cooking lunch for us and thanking us for coming to her country to help her people. We are humbled by these grateful, resilient and hopeful people who forge ahead despite their loss.
After church we went to have lunch at Dr. Maud’s house, which was unaffected by the earthquake. This woman is her next door neighbor, and as you can see her house collapsed and folded in upon itself. She and others were trapped inside, but she was fortunate to be pulled out from it. The emotional trauma of this has her periodically yelling at the dead people who were trapped and killed inside. This was really sad to witness. She and her sister now live in the small space in front of her house and have set up a little cooking area with many cans of food. This is the reality now for many people. The rains are coming and many people will sleep in the rain. The average household income is $US350 per year. A tarp is too expensive for many families to buy. We’re getting ready to leave in a few days and it’s hard to fathom what these people will do and how they will survive. The rains will spread disease. We come from a country with such abundance and it’s hard to imagine being in a situation where you literally don’t have food or shelter. I hope the world continues to intervene and attempt to rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure. It may be their only hope.
Great appreciation for these firefighters…
Snapshot of the gals
Finding shade from the heat…
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