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Friday, January 15, 2010

My Personal Connection to Haiti Earthquake's Devastation and Suffering

If you want to read the whole story, go to HelpHaitiQuake: Help Rebuild Haiti

I realized that nobody is immune from the effects and suffering caused by the magnitude 7.0 quake that hit Haiti. Some of my friends and former colleagues are still unaccounted for...

Here is what I found out this morning (1-15-10)

Thanks to Digicel, the telephone company whose headquarters is based in Jamaica, my nephew (Frandy) was granted a few free minutes to call me to give me the news of my parents and neighbors. My parents are OK. However, my father barely escaped death as the 1st story of our house fell on the area he used to sit at. Knowing that he has difficulty moving fast due to the aneurysm and subsequent stroke he suffered a few years ago, he would have just stayed there. Fortunately, my nephew was getting him ready to give him a bath.

As the earthquake hit the country, he was on his way to take a bath near the other house on the property. My father fell on his face and sustained some scratches. Frandy promptly picked him up and carried him to safety in the brush around the house. As for my mother who was preparing dinner, she almost got burned. The violent shake of the quake spilled the meals. A small fire got started. My nephew ended up coming back for her, walking her to safety. The earth was shaking under their feet. None of them fully understood what was going on in the few seconds or minute the earthquake lasted.

With more than 100 aftershocks taking place even at the time of this phone conversation with me, people are scared in Haiti. My parents and their neighbors are currently sleeping in open air, on a Soccer field. They are afraid of going inside what remains of the house. Needless to say they lost everything. My nephew informed that my parents escaped with the clothes on their back. It has been raining in my hometown. My father is having a lot of difficulty sleeping outside.

With great pain, I learned of the death of a good family friend, Guito Lovelace. My brother, sisters and I went to primary school together in our hometown, Grand-Goave. He became a successful accountant and leader of his family. Two of my sisters got their job thanks to his efforts and recommendation. As a family, we lost a great friend and a smart man. And his family lost a great son.

Our neighbors did not fare well either. Hotel Villa St Georges owned and operated by a former French UN worker, collapsed. It was very important to the Chamette area as it provided access 24/7 access to the Internet. It also made use solar panels to meet its electricity needs. At the Cite des Canadiens, three Canadian retirees died. Their homes, built on the side of the hills, were completely destroyed. Some of the workers survived by jumping off the tall walls and hanging on electrical cords going into the house. Frandy said that they were subsequently rescued by family members and friends.

My uncles and aunts lost their homes. The only good news is that they ran out of their homes with their children.
They are now spending nights in open air, on a nearby Soccer field.

In our community, beach-front homes either collapsed or received irreparable damages. Homes built by Haitians living and working overseas also crumbled. Many plans for the community got destroyed. They have to go back to the drawing board.

The pastor of my parents' church reported that the newly renovated church crumbled. Eglise Baptiste de Thozin is no more. His own home was destroyed. His immediate problem is to figure out how to provide shelter to the orphans who live in the first floor of his home. Their school was on the second floor of the home. Pastor Enock Deroseney needs all kinds of help to rebuild the church and an orphanage. For now, he is sleeping on the nearby Soccer field with the orphans under his care and many church members from the nearby areas.

If you want to sponsor one of these orphans and make donations toward this cause, contact Brother Enock Deroseney at Good Samaritan Project.

My condolences go to the family of Raymond who perished at the Cite of Canadiens compound alongside the Canadian retirees. Raymond went there to sell his goods to them.

If you wan to read the whole story, go to HelpHaitiQuake: Help Rebuild Haiti

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