The exhausted man clung to the hope that his wife was still alive after she was buried alive beneath the collapsed bank. Humans can only survive about five days without water. She had been under there for six. Nonetheless, after each section of rubble was cleared, he threw his remaining energy into calling her name through the stone.
Then, she answered.
As rescue workers from California pulled her bruised body from the wreckage, she emerged smiling and singing. When a reporter asked her if, while trapped, she had believed she was going to live she said,
“Sure. Why not?”
The faith and spirit of the Haitian people is a marvel. Despite this horrible tragedy, I am constantly amazed at how the overarching attitude is that of strength and hope rather than woe and despair. They seem to find their fortitude through their sense of community and their faith; undaunted by fallen churches, they gather atop the broken remains to sing into the night.
It is hard to watch the news and try to comprehend the conditions in which they are living. Can you imagine going for scorching, dusty days without something as necessary and basic as water? Not knowing where your mother or son is or if they are alive? Living amongst the stench of decaying bodies?
It is easy to distract ourselves from the terrible truth: Out of sight, out of mind. But switching the channel to Two and a Half Men is an option the Haitians don’t have. It seems the media has about a two-week attention span when it comes to headlines, but we need to keep their struggle in the forefront of our minds and prayers so they aren’t forgotten.
As a mother, what has had me in tears all week are images of the orphaned children. They gaze at the cameras so small and sad, their giant brown eyes lost. Who is there to comfort them or to make sure they have milk and clean diapers? How do you tell a toddler their parents are dead? Their little minds are forever scarred with haunting images no child should ever witness.
Forty-five percent of Haiti’s population are children and it is predicted there will now be over 1 million orphans. Thankfully, the US government is waiving final paper work and passports to help many of the children who were already in the process of being adopted come here immediately.
On a plane this weekend, I was repulsed to hear a couple bashing the president for giving money for aid relief.
“I can’t believe he is giving away all that money when people here are losing their houses,” the man snarled.
“Yeah,” the wife agreed. “I could use some of that 100 million bucks.”
Listen up you cretinous cows, the Haitians didn’t lose their homes because they bought cars and mansions they couldn’t afford. Most of them already had nothing and now they are living in Hell.
I realize this isn’t the most convenient time to be giving money since we are still in recession, but even a few dollars helps buy water. There was just a couple on the news that is donating the money they had put aside for their wedding--all it takes it a little creativity in the budget and we can find spare dollars. (Do you really need 10 lattes a week?)
Our friend Dr. Dave Paul has worked in Haiti for years with Doctors without Borders. He says the Crudem Foundation, which is one of the only operational hospitals left in the country, is in need of baby formula, antibiotics and insulin. On their website, Crudem.org, you can purchase supplies directly for the hospital.
As with all times of sorrow and hardship come amazing shows of the power and resilience of the human spirit. Watching the rescue workers side by side with the civilians saving people is like watching super heros in action. These men and women that are risking their lives to save those of others are the most selfless, wonderful examples of the true goodness that lies within all of us.
So I ask of all you good people to please focus your intentions on our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Please help in any way you can. Let them know that despite the unimaginable suffering they are experiencing, they are not alone nor forgotten.