Though many things were the same today, in Haiti, it had a different
feeling...the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake of
Port au Prince. A national day of mourning, most schools and private
businesses were closed.
The breeze was still mild and warm, the roads still busy and dusty,
and food still for sale over charcoal burners on the street. As we
had no class, a group of M4H volunteers rented a truck for a short
outing to local attraction Bassin Zim, about 35 minutes away. We
bounced over rutted, unpaved roads, buying small yellow roadside
bananas along the way. We came to a beautiful waterfall, cascading
through 3 basins, down the hill out of a huge cave! Little Haitian
boys grabbed our hands and pulled us up the path to show us the full
glory of this place...including ancient figures carved in the stone
walls of the cave. Never have I seen such a sight in Haiti! It was
awesome. We rewarded the boys with bananas, cookies, and a little
money. Haiti is still full of surprises.
Back home in Hinche, Manno, Angela Ferrari and I braved the outdoor
market to buy Kreyol books, plastic shelves, scrub brushes, and
curtains for the house. Then we piled all the boxes, bags, and
ourselves on 2 motorcycles and chugged back to the house.
The day was a more reflective, less frantic one, as befits a solemn
occasion. In later afternoon, we knew the actual time of the
earthquake was near (4:45pm), so we gathered in front of Lakay Nou.
Diuny, our cook, stopped frying meat for a minute. Judnel, our
security guy, came from his seat, and joined our circle. With Nadene
Brunk, our founder, Cara Osborn, Anglea Ferrari, Terrie Glass, Reina
Galjour and her Haitian partner Blada, and I, all held our hands, and
grew quiet. As Manno translated, we just paused:
"On this anniversary, we stop to honor and remember all the people that died in the
earthquake of last year. We ask for healing for the country, and for
the ones who were injured, and the families who lost their loved ones.
And we ask that our mission can be strengthened, so that we can help
Haiti." Americans, and Haitians, we held silence in our hearts...we
wept, and we stood together in that space, under the soft blue Haitian
We hugged and touched each other, and then, we returned to our work.