It’s a beautiful day. Vegetables sold okay today. I’ve gotta rest. Early day morning. Head out to the farms.
Maybe I made enough that the kids can eat? I hope so.
Window’s dirty, but the sun is shining through. Beautiful day out. Not so nice inside.
Room is bare.
I want a table. I want a bed.
Floor looks uneven, needs a sweep.
I’ll ask Gerard to do it when he gets home. I hope he went to school. He’s probably having a nice walk home now.
No food. I think I’ll nap. Thank G-d for my pillow.
I want to leave this place. I want the kids to eat. I want them to grow.
Why is the wall moving?
WHY IS THE FLOOR MOVING?
WHAT DO I DO???
LOOK OUT THE WINDOW. EVERYTHING’S SHAKING.
I HEAR SCREAMS.
WHERE’D THE FLOOR GO?
WHY IS IT DARK?
OH MY G-D, I HURT.
I hear myself self scream. And I hear my scream silenced – deadened by the masses of concrete that surround me.
What the hell happened?
My leg hurts. Really hurts. Like nothing I’ve felt before. I feel blood on my arm.
Open, eyes. Sees what’s happened.
They aren’t working. Everything is black.
It feels like a river of blood,
Calm down. Calm down.
Oh G-d it hurts.
Building shook. All the buildings shook.
Building collapsed. I’m in the middle. Nobody can hear me.
Can I move?
My arms? no. Legs? Neck? Head? No. No. No. FINGERS. Just a bit.
Can I dig out with my fingers?
They aren’t touching anything.
WHERE ARE THE KID’S??
Home? No. School? Maybe. But probably walking home. They might be okay.
Please Lord, let my children live.
I’m going to die.
Death. Kariné on the beech, something she read, seven stages of mourning.
Calm down, calm down. Try to ignore the pain.
Seven stages of mourning: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.
I remember them all!
Kariné laughed at them. I asked her why. She smiled ridiculous, looked at me and said, “Honey, we’re Haitian. We do Denial when we’re about 3. Anger at 4. Bargaining at 9. Depression until 12. And then we just Accept. Those seven stages are just growin’ up in Haiti. We’re the walking dead.”
We’re Haitian. we can skip those steps.
Acceptance: I’m going to die.
I hope the kids are okay.
I’m going to die.
Did I live right?
Can you live right in Haiti?
Schemers. Liars. Thugs. They run this place. There’s no help coming because they run this place. It is gangland. A criminal city. You gotta be a crook to survive.
In this city, nobody does what’s right for the long-term. We can only live for now.
That’s why my building fell.
Silver-tongued thugs crushed by rubble. Crying in pain.
A sweet thought.
Unlikely, their houses are nicer.
STOP. It is for G-d to judge and my last thoughts will not be thoughts of joy about others’ pain.
I was a crook. Never made much though. Couldn’t. I could only do what I needed to do. I needed to survive.
G-d, forgive me for my sins. Lord, wash them away and let me die as pure as snow.
What did I do with my life?
What did I change?
Should I die pure? Do I deserve it?
My kids lives are better because of me. My kids are because of me.
Please Lord, let my babies be okay.
How will they eat without me?
The schemers and liars and thugs will steal all the help the world sends.
Please Lord, let them have what they need to survive.
I touched their lives. I touched Kariné’s life. I brought them some goodness and happiness.
What is they’re all dead? Is it all meaningless? How do the ripples of kindness extend if all water is gone?
Will anything I’ve done, any kindness or even evil I’ve done, somehow outlive me?
Is there truly heaven? I miss my mother. Perhaps I can meet my father.
I would like there to be a Heaven. After all, I’ve already lived in Haiti. Hah!
Old joke. How can I joke? My kids have been in Haiti too long.
Lord, let my babies survive.
I hope I gave them the tools to survive.
There is so much blood. There is so much pain. I am so weak.
I can barely think.
Can I speak? I can whisper.
Let me close my eyes.
Let me open my heart.
Lord, open my lips and let my prayer be pleasing to you.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; He guideth me in straight paths for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the House of the LORD for ever.
Imagine the kids. Orphans freed of this place. Orphans brought somewhere else. Laughing, eating. A green lawn. A happy family. A table.
The House of the Lord.
A beautiful vision. A peaceful vision.
I’m watching them play.
Please G-d, let my babies prosper.
This is the first semi-‘stream of consciousness’ piece I’ve written. I generally find this style annoying, but I couldn’t think of another way to express the story.
But this is more than a story. This is reality worse than anything I could write, even if I had wanted to focus on the horror (using far more painful images you can read about in the news). Haiti needs help. It has a problem. It has received too much help for chronic problems (mass charity has never solved such problems) and because of that this acute problem is so much worse than it would otherwise be. Not only that, but the various competing criminal gangs who run the place are likely to steal anything that comes near them – whether people are suffering or not.
So when you give, give to organizations that are sending people to help – with this disaster, not all of Haiti’s problems.
MercyCorp comes to mind.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the Marines had a charity (tell me if they do).