Book Club Channel
One Year Later: Letters From Haiti
On the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, we're honored to share several personal stories of hope and faith from some who survived and continue to work and live amidst the ruins. Thanks to Kent Annan, author of the new book After Shock: Searching For Honest Faith When Your World Is Shaken, for gathering these letters from his friends and colleagues in Haiti. Read more about his book, including an excerpt, at the Patheos Book Club.
A year ago I was on the third floor of a six-floor university for a class on pedagogy. It was afternoon. I'd missed the previous class so while we waited for the professor to arrive, I talked with a couple of friends in the back of the classroom. There were about twenty of us there.
Then the building started to shake.
I had no idea what it was, but grabbed the metal bars in the window beside me. Then everything collapsed.
A large slab of concrete hit my back, but then seems to have protected me as the rest of the building collapsed around us. The two other friends I was talking with were nearby. It took about ten minutes to each dig ourselves out.
People were screaming, trapped. I think many others in our class, who we'd just been with a few minutes before, died in an instant.
I stumbled out to the street. I started realizing it wasn't just our building, but more, many more. I still didn't fully understand what had happened.
A stranger came by and helped me to a public square two blocks away. He continued on. I lay down and then realized I was too hurt to get back up. It passed as a night of trauma, but also of faith. Hundreds of people out in that public square in downtown Port-au-Prince sang together and prayed.
I eventually got home and within two weeks, still with some pain in my leg, was back in the city to work.
My family lives a few hours away, but I wanted to be back in the city. I wanted to be back working on education. I wanted to do my part in rebuilding my country.
So where do I find hope now—when things are still so hard, when we lost so much, and when new things like cholera are happening? I find hope in my faith and in my work. My faith in God, that ultimately we are all in God's hands, even when things are in horrible shape. I also find hope in the progress we make in our education work on in schools and churches.
Hope in God and hope in working hard on my small part, with others, to make things better.
As told by Kent Annan
Guilloteau, Enel, and I were driving from Port-au-Prince to visit a couple of our organization's schools in the countryside. Enel wanted to drive through the heart of downtown, which looked like it had gone through a five-year war in thirty seconds. A few months before countless thousands of people had died in the densely populated blocks.