Port au Prince, Haiti Day 6 trip 2

A quiet night, thank goodness. I slept at a friends home in heavily damaged Pacot –her small 2 bedroom apartment is home for 8 people, and the streets are cramped with families living in makeshift tents. The night was noisy, smelly and heavy. It felt strange in an uncomfortable way to walk out of a safe (or not, if you are one of the many people who cannot yet sleep indoors due to elevated stress and fear levels) dry apartment building and see tiny children laying asleep on thin plastic sheets right on the asphalt street.

More difficult stories.A man who was finishing work, a 5 minute drive, and had to run (20 minutes) to his lakou where his entire family lived in a quadrant—three houses collapsed, one on top of his son, one on top of his mother, the other on top of his sister. All yelling for help.


His brave, dignified 83 year old mother instructed him to save his son first, and then told her hysterical daughter to wait until she and the son were freed because they would all help her (Her leg was pinned).

His mother did not make it—they could not retrieve her before nightfall; only her 2 severed arms . As he gave her water before he had to stop digging (he was alone, with an injured son, and no equipment, and each time the aftershocks came more of the house threatened to fall so that he had to step back)she said “I will not make it. Free your sister” which he did first thing in the morning. He grapples the most with the few minutes after the houses fell , when they might have been alone, no-one to talk to them on the outside, no one to comfort them. Did they know I was coming to try and save them, or did they think they were all alone?

Another 11 year old girl was in the kitchen with her cook and father. Her father was killed instantly, and her cook threw herself on top of her to protect her. She lived, the cook did not. She spent the night under the weight of her cook’s dead body and rubble, knowing her father lay dead nearby. The cook left behind 2 small children (who will be cared for by the family).

Each story weaves a collective history that has altered Haiti forever. 35 seconds and the world is completely changed. One of my good friends said “The Haiti we said goodnight to on January 11th—she’s gone. She cannot come back”.

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