Remembering the Day After
Today as I reflected on what to write on the 6th anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake, I asked my colleagues to share their thoughts on how the earthquake had changed their lives. I learned things that I had never known. I learned that some of my co-workers lost children. I learned that some of them lost their jobs when the places where they worked collapsed. I learned of children who lost their schools and teachers. In losing loved ones, and limbs, and homes, thousands of Haitians lost the life they knew and the future they had imagined. I was reminded that we all lost something that day, all of us who live in Haiti, all of us who love Haiti. We lost our sense of safety. We lost the walls we build to keep out the pain and suffering of others.
Today is a day of mourning and remembrance, but it is also a day to remember what came after. I was reminded of this by my co-worker, Herby Sanon, who shared his reflections with me.
“Malgre sa te di anpil paske nou te pran yon gwo kou, tranblemandete a fe nou vin konn kiyes nou ye, vin fe nou konnen se fre ak se nou ye, Malgre nou pa gen menm koule po, nou pa gen menm kouch sosyal, rich oubyen pov, save oubyen sot. Nou se yon fanmi fok nou viv youn pou lot, youn sipote lot. Mwen ta jis renmen tout ayisyen tounen nan pase pou sonje mekredi maten 13 janvye 2010, kote yon sache dlo e yon bonbon te pataje bay plis pase 10 moun, sa se travay kem te viv. Mwen ta renmen ke tout Ayisyen oubyen lemond antye kreye menm lanmou sa, pa selman pou peyim anvanse men fe mond la anvanse tou. Paske san lanmou youn pou lot pa gen anyen ki kapab debloke. Mwen ta renmen pou nou fe menm feso sa pou nou kapab rive kote n vle rive a.”
“Even though the experience was difficult for us, the earthquake showed us who we are. It reminded us that we are all brothers and sisters, even if we don’t have the same color skin or social class. Rich and poor, educated and uneducated, we are a family and we must support one another. I would love for all Haitians to remember the morning of January 13, 2010, when one water sachet and one cracker was shared between more than 10 people; it is that moment that I remember. I ask that all Haitians, and indeed everyone in the world, work to find that same love, not only for the advancement of Haiti, but for the advancement of the entire world. It is our love for one another that allows us to overcome obstacles. Let us remember that love so that we can all achieve our dreams.”
The SOIL family in Port-au-Prince was born of the solidarity that followed the earthquake. Just as we mourn today, let us wake up tomorrow and remember the day after the earthquake, the day that Haitians, and millions of others around the world, broke down the barriers that divide us – sharing not only our common grief, but also a renewed commitment to a stronger, more vibrant Haiti. I know that my colleagues felt it, as did those of you reading this letter. Let the anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti serve as a reminder of our shared humanity and the fire for change that burns inside each one of us who lived through that day. Today we honor the memory of those who were lost and take inspiration from the solidarity of those who survived.
With love from Haiti,
Sasha, Herby, Junior, Ghislaine, Romel and the rest of the SOIL family