I was sitting at my desk. It was a weird kind of day all day long. I had been on a weird diet and for lunch I told everyone, let’s have hamburgers and French Fries for lunch and our office staff jumped at the offer! None of us knew it would be the last thing we would eat for many hours. I had also written up multiple proposals for families waiting on children. I didn’t know how important that would be for the children who were eventually evacuated! But God knew and all things happen for a reason.
I have been given a lot of little knick knacks as gifts from adoptive families and an angel collection that sits on my shelving unit in my office. I remember looking up at the shelves as things started to rattle, and immediately, I knew it was an earthquake! I have lived through other earthquakes here in Haiti and so my brain said “OK, it will stop soon. Tremors here only last 3 or 4 seconds.”, but it didn’t! It just got worse! The whole house was being lifted up and then thrown back down. Dr. Claude who was playing basketball in front of the orphanage said the house swayed back and forth and looked like it was going to fall over!
I could not walk 8 steps from my desk to the doorway of the bathroom in my office. John was screaming at everyone to get to a doorway…but we couldn’t walk! I remember leaning over my desk and calling out to God to let the house stand and protect the children!
I tried going back and reading my past blogs from that time and could not because it was such an emotional time for me. Today, I still cry as I have watched some short videos about the children being evacuated and the damage from the earthquake.
Exactly 2 years ago this minute…my life changed and many lives changed forever with an event that lasted about 35 to 45 seconds. Some of our biological families were sure that the whole world shook, not just Haiti. At the same time their adoptive families were wondering if their children’s biological families survived, the biological families were wondering if they felt the earthquake in Paris, France; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Miami, Florida; or Calgary, Alberta! How could something this strong and which caused such devastation…NOT be felt around the world?
As I continue to drive by houses that are collapsed and the Presidential Palace which is destroyed, I remember the moment, the sound of that earthquake rumbling across the valley toward us. Never will I forget…the sounds.
I still practice in my mind what I will do the next time the earth shakes. How will I get to the door or roll on the floor and wedge myself against the desk. After the earthquake, I taught the workers what they should do in an earthquake. They might not be able to save all of the children but they could maybe save two in their arms. This is reality for us now….what will we do next time?
God truly prepared me throughout my years in Haiti for that one day….12 January 2010. I had great people here working and they started preparing children’s files in case of evacuation. We started networking with other orphanages and the different governments of our adoptive parents and we evacuated children to The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada and the United States.
The first half of 2010 is a blur in my mind. I don’t remember dates children left or what dates I was out of Haiti. I have to look back on my blog to remind myself. I am so thankful for this blog, it’s like a diary that I am sharing with all who read it.
Today, Pastor Brandon Jordan led our Haitian staff in a memorial service where some shared what has changed in their lives since the earthquake. Some shared in words and others in song. It was very moving listening to them share and know that all of them lost friends and family on that fateful day 2 years ago.
As we look around, there are many faces that are missing in our daily travels. It was really brought to our minds as the new Caribbean Market opened in Petion-Ville last week. So many of the staff did not make it out of there alive. I still miss them. I miss the waiters who were always so kind to me at the Montana Hotel.
Please continue to pray for Haiti, the survivors, the homeless, the abandoned, the hungry, the weak, the sick, the lost, and the ones just trying to get by day by day. Don’t forget them, please. They need you more now than ever.
Emelyne Martin made a wonderful video to share during our English memorial service tonight on the balcony. I wanted to share it with all of you.
Posted on Thu, January 12, 2012