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Haiti - Two years on

Haiti - Two years on
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"I got home and the house had collapsed but, thank God, my children were still alive"
12 January 2011

Jean Baptiste

I left to go to play basketball with my friends and as we were in the middle of our game the earth suddenly began to shake. Everything was moving back and forth, we tried to cling to one another and we were all just shouting “Jesus” over and over again. It was terrible.

I looked all around and in one glance I could see that the houses had just collapsed. I had to find out what happened to my children so I ran home like a greyhound, shouting “Bondye pitit mwen yo mouri” hoping to God that my children hadn’t died. I got home and the house had collapsed but, thank God, my children were still alive. That was the worst experience of my life, ever since that moment I’ve felt downtrodden and my heart beats like a drum every time I hear a sudden noise.

Five months ago I started working as an assistant for Islamic Relief’s shelter programme, helping to carry out assessments and organising the building of shelters for earthquake survivors.

Historically, Haitians mark the Christmas quite differently to foreign countries. We stay awake all night, children play in the streets because their parents let them stay up. Some people go to the church; others go to the cinema or invite people to their homes. This year, Christmas was just celebrated in tents. While passing by, you could see some earthquake survivors had decorated their tents most wonderfully with Christmas trees and lights.

So when I see all the kindness that God has blessed us with, I find good reason to keep living and still hope that there can be change for tomorrow and one day we Haiti will be able to celebrate the season properly again.

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