JDC Haiti Mission: Resilience Amidst Rubble

Jacky, Vice President of JDC’s Board of Directors, continues reporting from Haiti.

January 28, 2010

A man spotted by JDC’s team in Haiti walks through the rubble of devastated Port-au-Prince.

Jacky, Vice President of JDC’s Board of Directors, continues reporting from Haiti.

We have been here now for 24 hours, immersed in devastation beyond description. The human tragedy here is on a scale that beggars belief … so many affected and afflicted … so many injured and bereaved … so many who have had their whole world shaken and destroyed.

This afternoon we were driven around central Port-au-Prince by Daniel, an Israeli local (more about Daniel in a later blog). It is hard to describe the depth and scale of this city’s destruction. Wherever we look, buildings have been reduced to rubble—beyond; homes burn, with clouds of thick, grey smoke rising above them. On the roads, cars lay torn and twisted. And the people—men women, and children; the old and the young—are everywhere … living, washing, cooking, sleeping on the streets. Many still desperately search through the rubble for loved ones, or for any items that may be of value—rope, corrugated iron, wooden planks—anything that might be useful in building a home or making a fire. Surprising—inexplicably, perhaps—we did not find a city of grieving people. Amidst so much death, Haiti belongs to the living. Markets are busy selling food, we even saw artists selling their wares on the street. And, most importantly, children are playing.

Full (but embarrassing) disclosure—Sam and I have just been massacred in a game of football [soccer] by a wonderful bunch of kids less than half our age. Hey, wait a minute, that’s not so embarrassing.  I’m entitled to be beaten by kids who are younger than my own. We like to forget sometimes … and for a moment there we all forgot … forgot the human tragedy all around us … forgot the pain and the suffering … and together with a bunch of the most wonderful Haitian kids—most of whom played barefoot—we lost ourselves in the moment, in a simple game of soccer. Oh, the joy on those young smiling faces to have a ball to play with (supplied by Shauli, who brought several from the US). There is something magical in the air here. It is only 14 days since the quake decimated so much of this country and took the lives of an estimated 120,000 of its people. There is hope here, however, and it resides in the hearts of a resilient people who are rising from the rubble and going about the task of living.

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