Haitians have a strong spirit

Many watched in shock as the frightening images played out before us, showing the aftermath of the earthquake on Jan. 12.

The images seem to beg for a helping hand, and though we are only students in a college that seems worlds away from Haiti, we still have opportunities to help.

On Feb. 19, we had a great occasion to help, at the UVUSA Benefit Haiti event.

A little before 5 p.m. on that fateful day the people of Port-au-Prince, Haiti suffered the most incredible heartbreak and horror imaginable.

“The earthquake lasted just about one minute, which doesn’t seem very long. But go home and watch your clock, and count one minute. And imagine if it were happening to you … imagine the roar of the earth … It will seem like the worst minute of your life, and Haiti experienced that minute,” said Danny Horns, earth science department chair and emcee for the evening.

It wasn’t just that their world was completely and literally shaken and tossed upside down, it was the loss they were forced to endure, and are still bearing today, over a month later.

“Lots of people died, but that is not who we’re here for, we’re here for the survivors. We’re here to make a real difference for Haiti,” Horns said.

It almost seemed wrong to have such a good evening, thinking about those our admission fee would be helping.

The night was well planned, with great entertainment including bands North to Alaska, Good Karma Blues Band and Holy Water Buffaloes, Phaya and even a three part fashion show.

We also heard from Haitian native Mode Midi, as well as representatives from Healing Hands for Haiti and the LDS Humanitarian Services.

Emily Dougall spoke on behalf of Healing Hands for Haiti, an organization that helps Haitians with prosthetics and physical therapy, it is a “rehabilitation project.”

Dougall went to Haiti with 14 others for three weeks and witnessed the destruction first hand.

“The news has done a good job showing the conditions the people are living in, and the devastation,” Dougall said. “The people need hope of survival and hope for the future.”

Dougall’s stories about the people she and her group had encountered while in Haiti were heartbreaking. She spoke of a “forgotten village,” were 6,000 residents were unable to receive medical care.

While Midi did not witness the devastation first hand because she was here at UVU working on her master’s in nursing, her family did experience the ravages of the earthquake. She was unable to reach them for two days. Luckily her immediate family was safe.

“Think about what you have, your computers, and imagine that all your files have been reset, this is like what happened to Haiti,” Midi said.

When speaking, Midi gave a brief history of Haiti. She told of a time when her countrymen were enslaved, the motto and cry heard on the lips of Midi’s forefathers was, “Give them freedom or death!”

Finally in 1804 they were free, but all their struggling for liberty, caused the country to crumble and fall into poverty.

As they worked to rebuild they built around and in the city of Port-au-Prince, it was their capitol, this was where they built their schools and hospitals, and this was why the devastation was so great.

“We are here to celebrate life, not death. As long as we are alive we need to do what we can to help,” said Midi. “Haitians have a strong spirit, they know how to fight, but they need your help. We can change tomorrow, if we act today.”

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