I arrived in back in Haiti the night of January 10th after being away for almost 9 months. 2 days later, on January 12th at 4:54pm tragedy struck.
I was on the 2nd floor of a 3 story orphanage building, in a nursery room filled with 50+ children and 10 nannies. I had just come in the room to bring Samuel for his supper when the room began rocking back and forth, within seconds that rocking turned to a powerful shaking. All around people were screaming and trying to run out the doors and down the stairs. There were not nearly enough arms for everyone who needed to be carried. A lot of the ladies fell to the ground because the floors were pitching so violently. I still had no idea what was happening but, with Samuel in my arms I ran too.
By the time we reached the stairs I could hear someone yelling downstairs that it was an earthquake, that was the first time I had any idea what was going on, it was the first time I ever knew that Haiti could have an earthquake. Sometime in those moments the shaking stopped but only long enough to make it even more terrifying when it started again. In the time it took for us to get from the nursery to the yard outside a powerful 7.0 earthquake and 5.3 aftershock had forever changed all of our lives.
The days following passed in a blur of fear, tears, running outside countless times and taking care of babies who were as confused as the rest of us. There are blocks of several days that I'm not sure I would even remember if I didn't have this blog to look back on.
And then there are the moments that are etched into my mind forever. The day that my friend Jocelyne came back through the gate, amidst tears of joy and shouted prayers of thanks from everyone who saw those 2 little boys that she carried. The day before Jocelyne had left to walk down the mountain to find her 2 children who were home alone at the time of the earthquake. Her house was completely destroyed but by some miracle her 9 year old son ran and made it outside before the walls collapsed. Even more miraculous, her baby who lie sleeping inside the home also survived.
As clear as if outside my window right now, I can hear the songs that the ladies sang, songs of praise lifted above cries of sorrow.
No matter how much I would like to, I will never forget the first drive through Port Au Prince that week and the shock over turning down street after street and having no idea where we were until the car passed the collapsed Caribbean Market.
And forever written on my heart are all of the seconds of the day that I walked off of an airplane with the precious weight of a little boy in my arms and the look in my parents eyes when I finally placed them in theirs.
A lot of awful pain and sadness is wrapped up in January 12th and the days that came after. Those of us who were affected personally will never be the same. Almost every day we face struggles some bigger than others. Some live with the raw pain of family members and friends lost. Some live in tents still to this day. And then there is me, in comparison my struggles are small but they still come and so I do what everyone else does. Wake up, remember and continue on in the life He has called me to live.
To read my posts begining the day of the earthquake you can click here.