Dignity vanished in Haiti

28 03 2010

Shawnee Rae Ziegler, Commodities Manager for “Food for the Hungry,” was in Haiti, one week after the earthquake; she remembers the sorrow.

“You are surrounded by people filled with intense sorrow, says Ziegler,” “we could feel that very heavily. We could hear dogs barking and roosters cackling at all hours of the day, but especially in the evening, when we went out. There were no markets for the hungry, nothing available for them at night; people were lying on the street, because they had just lost their homes. There were thousands of people everywhere. Most seemed lost in their own world trying to cope with losing loved ones, and still having to struggle to even think about feeding the rest of their families.”

But, there is so much more. . .

The heart and soul of a country was torn to shreds after the earthquake that destroyed Haiti earlier this year. There is still so much to tell there isn’t enough paper and ink in the entire world to supply the need to write down every thought, every emotion, and every tear of every soul involved.

One very important thing that stands out in my research for the News Story in the Paradise Valley Community College newspaper, -Puma Press, is the aspect of ‘Dignity.’

In the aftermath of the earthquake, families were left alone to search for missing loved ones, some, under piles of concrete and debris, and they would go days and even weeks without food or water. Like being buried alive, waiting for your body to shut down, -I must believe this to be true.

According to Ziegler, the smell around Port-ah-Prince was a very disturbing smell that penetrated into more than just her senses. After talking with her, I felt in her tone, that the awful smell penetrated even into her soul.

Authorities, along with U.S. and UN aid, were forced to clean up the bodies that were left rotting, unrecognizable in the streets. There were piles of bodies according to world news media and other photos of the disaster. Bodies scraped up from the pale of a bulldozer and loaded onto dump trucks and carried away like garbage. Bodies dumped into piles for burning, -children running past those piles to miss not having to witness the death around them.

Proper burials,-non-existent in the aftermath, it was impossible, there were to many deaths, approximately 250,000 and maybe more during the coming weeks and months. What could Haiti do as it lost its religious dignity it deserved?

Like many of us, we desire a proper burial, remembrance from loved ones and friends, in Haiti? Who will remember all those people that died, that teacher perhaps, that helped a child in school when she fell from a swing, that smile she must have had when she was lifted by caring arms; that connection of the soul that exist only between two souls. And the husband, who smiled at his wife when he left for work, knowing he was going to come back home to love her some more, or the doctor who took great care to deliver a new baby into the world; the baby eager to live, or the mother who prayed the night before the earthquake hit, for her family, but especially for the well-being and redemption of her children. -I will remember, and I hope you will too.

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