Haiti: 10 Years Later

A U.S. helicopter prepares to land on the lawn of Haiti’s Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince — left in a state of near-collapse after the earthquake. 22/Jan/2010. Port-au-Prince, Haiti. UN Photo/Marco Dormino.

I remember January 12, 2010, the days, the weeks and emotions that followed like yesterday.

There so much to be said but here’s the summary.

Fear and Helplessness

  • Fear that my Mom’s entire family could be gone in an instant from the earthquake rubble or worse — wiped off from a possible Tsunami.
  • feeling helpless knowing there was nothing you could do from afar but just watch the images.

Resourceful

  • To use all sources/connections at my disposal far and wide to find out if the family was safe.
  • To let all that could hear my voice, social media posts know how big of a deal this disaster was and to donate.

Grief

Three days later when the news finally came through that one of my mom’s Goddaughters died. She was so distraught that her employer called me to come and bring her home.

Since the 7.0-scale quake rocked Ketlie Camille’s native Caribbean country last week, phone lines have been clogged and Internet connections broken, leaving her desperate to know the well-being of her siblings, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. She’s had trouble sleeping, and has awoken in the middle of the night.

“I can’t take it anymore,” she said.
Ketlie’s husband, Nicholson Camille, was relieved to learn early that his father survived. But on Friday morning, bad news came: Ketlie Camille’s niece had perished in a collapsed office building.

“It’s really hard,” Camille said, gripping a white cordless phone as she broke into tears. “I feel sick. I feel really helpless.”
The news was a blow, and the Camille family realizes more painful calls could be on the way. 

The Telegraph of Nashua, NH January 17, 2010

It was on that day hearing my mother’s words that I was fully empowered along with a phone call from an assignment editor at ABC News requesting I get myself down to Santo Domingo, DR to help coordinate coverage and logistics.

 I maxed out a TD Bank credit card (I am just about finished paying it off), I emptied my kitchen pantry, booked a Jet Blue flight to Santo Domingo.

With the help of my cousin and newly made friends, we finessed our way into Haiti on our own fact-finding mission to make sure our family was safe…and they were.

Thank Goodness.

Several people’s contributions and support made that journey possible. I couldn’t have done it without them.

Overwhelmed, anger, and disappointed:

The weeks, months and years followed it seemed that the recovery effort was going backward. It really didn’t look promising.

I even asked President Barack Obama what would the United States do to ensure Haiti is not forgotten in the long run. I don’t think he fully answered the question

Source: WMUR-TV Hearst Television/YouTube

As a child of Haitian immigrants there another level of burden, that I began to carry. That’s another blog post for another time.

Looking back. The world broke its promise to help Haiti, it’s also taken advantage of and forgotten this country since 1804.
While 10 years after this disaster there have been little adjustments and change to improve lives, overall it’s really the same and from my perspective and probably worse.

I used to be optimistic about the future of my parent’s country, my ancestral homeland, until November 2016 when I had to go and bury my uncle Sobnet.

However, once in a while I see stories or first-person account that still gives a glimmer of hope that things will eventually change.

Let the next 10 years be the decade of change.

Thinking of the nearly 300,000+ lost souls tonight and the millions of lives changed at 16:53 on January 12, 2010.

“Pour le Pays, Pour les ancêtres.
Pour les Aïeux, pour la Patrie” 🇭🇹✊🏽