Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lessons from Haiti

The day after the earthquake in the heart of Haiti, I watched all news updates with intense interest. I went to CNN and watched heart wrenching videos of the disaster. Haitians were running in panic down what used to be a main street – strewn with debris and lined with flattened buildings. Husbands screaming because they can’t find their wives. Mothers screaming for their children. Families torn apart. The camera panned to dead bodies strewn in all directions. A tear fell from my face. Suddenly, an ad popped up next to the video I was watching. It was a picture of a designer stiletto with diamonds studding the heel. I was instantly reminded of the stark contrast of what was happening in the poorest country in the western hemisphere versus the comforts in which we live.

Those scenes haven’t left me.

As the week ensued I watched more horror unfold. People buried alive. Excavators dug mass graves. The stench from the dead was so potent it caused many to faint.

I watched as a woman pleaded with rescuers to help find her daughter. Where? She pointed to the daycare center, now a pile of concrete. The rescuer yelled into a crevice, “If you can hear me, tap three times!” A faint tapping was heard. A dog trained to smell live humans scoured the area finding nothing. The rescuer yelled again, and continued the routine for several hours while digging. The tapping stopped before they could get to her. Her mother sobbed.

Others stood by collapsed homes, knowing their loved ones were pinned inside. But they lacked the proper tools to get them out.

A 10-year old girl remained calm and brave despite her leg being crushed and pinned by a concrete beam. Her uncle worked furiously trying to get her out. She cried out, “God, don’t let me die. Oh, please, God. I don’t want to die.” Hours later she was freed from the rubble. She died on the way to the hospital – three hours away.

Where there was heartbreak, there was also triumph. A 70-year old woman was rescued from a church seven days after the earthquake. Earlier that day, an 18-month old baby was rescued from under the rubble of a flattened day-care center and reunited with his mother. Miracles indeed.

May God bless the Haitian people. May they be comforted and unified. May we learn from their pain and sorrow and be inspired to live better lives and to contribute more to the betterment of humanity.

Impact Your World


Camille said...

It is so sad! I hate watching it on the news! Breaks my heart!

Keri said...

It is very sad... Makes me want to adopt one of those little ones over there. I am definately more grateful for all that I have.