It’s cliché to say that words can’t fully express how I feel at the moment. But I’ll give it the old college try considering the circumstances. This moment and the past day have been excruciating for many Haitian Americans, including myself. Like so many, we have been on watch for the latest news on the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks in Carrefour, 10 miles from the nation’s capital in Port-Au-Prince. Haitian president René Préval has gone on record to CNN saying that any number from 30,000 to 50,000 people are dead or missing from the disaster. But, as he said, it’s too early to tell. CNN estimates at least 100,000 are dead or missing. In the meantime an unknown number of people have lost their homes and/or loved ones in the aftermath.
In the midst of all this chaos we’re doing our best to console each other as we try to see if our relatives are alive and well. Three of my aunts, my uncle and my grandmother are in Gressier, about 10 miles from Carrefour. With communication what it is, we’ve had difficulty contacting them since the news broke out. All of the phone lines are down and many people have been left in the dark literally. It’s an especially gloomy time for my siblings and cousins as my Aunts, Uncle and Grandma all had a hand in raising us. Not to mention that my parents, aunts and uncles in the US have kept a constant vigil should they get any word from them.
I wouldn’t wish this feeling on anyone. It’s hard to turn on the news or read online about the current situation when you can’t do much except pray and be optimistic. You can’t help but feel helpless and frustrated as this wrath-filled disaster laid your family’s home in ruin. I envision my family members as well as my friends’ loved ones somewhere safe for the time being. At the same time, I can’t really say since I’m not at the frontlines and the images coming in from ground zero are increasingly horrifying. Haiti was already in dire straits before this catastrophe, especially after the hurricanes in 2008. This is the last thing the country needed as it wasn’t equipped for a calamity of this magnitude.
I urge everyone to keep all of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers. If you have the means and want to help, I suggest Yele Haiti due to Wyclef Jean’s stellar track record in improving Haiti from the ground up. Text “Yele” to 501501 to donate $5 & have it credited to your cell phone bill. Additionally, you can go to the Yele site (www.yele.org) to donate any amount you feel comfortable with from your bank account or credit card. As well, you can also donate $10 to the American Red Cross (www.RedCross.org)by texting “Haiti” to 90999 in their $1 million pledge of relief support. Let’s do something about this disaster so thousands if not millions of Haitians and anyone affected can see the light at the end of the tunnel. For years, the country has deserved better treatment; today is as good a time as ever to help them receive it.