Thursday, February 18, 2010

sopudep neighborhood

over the last six years while providing aide to haiti, leisa has become close with many community leaders. one of which is a woman named rea. leisa refers to her as "the unofficial mayor of port-au-prince". with that description, i imagined rea to be a politician like business woman. and although she was a very motivated person and a natural leader, when i met her, she was much warmer than i thought she would be. she exudes energy and happiness. she was such a joy to be around. she has a way of making everyone around her feel so special. one of her many responsibilities is running a school in sopudep (a neighborhood in port-au-prince). in between distributing medical supplies to clinics, rea and her friend chener (another favorite of ours) took us around the neighborhood surrounding her school. had we just walked through it on our own, it would have just seemed like piles of rubble. chener knew many people in the neighborhood and told us intimate stories of the families who lived there. this part of our trip changed our lives.


rea and chener had just told leisa that there were still 3 children in the rubble, "here, here and here".
this is chener. he told us the woman that lived here always cooked for everyone in the community.
here is her refrigerator, what's left of her kitchen and home.

a family pet left dead in the rubble.
even without being told where the bodies were, we could always tell because of the smell.
in one area, chener told us that there were still 21 people burried in rubble.

while walking through everything, this man approached grant and held out these two pictures. we grabbed t-paul to help translate. we learned that over the past fourteen years he had been raising his two daughters alone. he told about how they were gifted scholastically; even being on national television for their accomplishments. he owned a boutique that they helped him run, his girls were his life. with tears welling up in his eyes, he pointed to the spot where his daughters were still under thousands of pounds of rubble. his home, his business, his family all gone. in leisa's six years of visiting haiti she said that she had never seen a haitian man cry until this day. as rea helped to comfort him, all of us got emotional. i couldn't stop crying. he expressed the intense feeling of now having nothing else to live for. despite all of this, when he walked away, he said "it was a pleasure to meet you". i will never forget him.

18 sweet thoughts:

lehi + sasha said...

i don't know what to say.
the images are so raw.
i can't stop crying....

i'm not going to write a novel on here, instead i will write you an email.

thank you so much for posting this, britt.

lehi + sasha said...

k, sent.
i just vomited my emotions. and you get to read it. yay for you. no really, i'm really sorry that you have to read it. i actually regret pushing the send button.

David and Shalynna said...

Thank you for writing descriptions! I will probably just post photos and link to your descriptions or something. David told me all about this sweet man too and how devastating it was to hear his story. I can't even imagine. We'll keep him in our prayers always.

Emily Anne said...

Wow. It is so extreme.. I am so sorry. Words cannot express how sorry I am for those poor people. The sad part is that man was not the only one to lose his daughters. :( It breaks my heart.

Love your blog, by the way!

Xoxo- Emily @ The White Way of Delight

ChloƩ said...

wow... this was heartbreaking. i have so much admiration for people like him that who have just lost everything, and can still say it was a pleasure to meet you. that is amazing. i seriously don't even know what to say...

thanks for sharing this though.. i am going to keep finding ways to donate to haiti.. i can't even imagine all the help that they still need. you guys are amazing..and i want to thank you so much for letting us help donate by sending stuff with you.. you guys are my heroes..we need to play..miss you lots!

the hopkins said...

I'm kind of speechless.
But this is very touching. I'm still in shock a little that you guys are in these pictures and were actually there. What an incredible opportunity to grow and learn and serve. The story about the man with his daughters made me cry, as have a lot of your other posts lately. The part when you wrote "it was a pleasure to meet you"... and I'm still crying.. that's so sad :(

Niki {A*Lovely*Lifestyle} said...

oh this is heart wrenching.

what makes me most sad is that we can give all we have to help these people but we can never give them the loved ones they lost.

my heart aches for them.

thank you for sharing this. this puts a whole new perspective on life.

Sophia said...

I can't imagine surviving the tragedy they have suffered. Just to have my family close to me is the greatest blessing. At times like these you wish everyone could tap into the matchless comfort from a loving Father in Heaven and feel peace if nothing else.

Reimstar said...

I feel like I may be one of those people you were talking about in your disclaimer that my heart just can't hold the pain. But I still want to be involved and try to understand the situation. Even though it is almost too much to handle, I think it is so good for everyone to see because it really puts life into perspective. We all feel like we go through our own version of "drama" and "tragedy," in our lives but when you see these people and what they have gone through before the earthquake and are now going through after, it makes our little problems look like a joke. It is very humbling. I feel nothing but gratitude for all of the blessings Heavenly Father has freely given us, and I know somehow He will find a way to bless these sweet people too. Thank you for reminding me.

samnhal said...

Oh my goodness, it is amazing and horrifying to see pictures like that, instead of just general pictures on the news, pictures of real people and to hear their stories. Thank you for sharing them. That poor man, hopefully he can feel comfort from the spirit and to know his life was spared for some purpose.

kaysi fox said...

wow, these pictures are so crazy!! i cannot believe the damage, so so sad!! that is so crazy about the smells and that you just know that there are dead people around. i could not even imagine the feelings you both had there!!

laceyinthecity said...

thank you so much for taking the time to share this entry. i had chills the entire time reading and tears in my eyes. you've definitely left an impression on me through your images and words that i won't soon forget.

Nicole Marie said...

so so so sad. my heart breaks everytime i see a picture or hear one of these stories.

trudy...{and jamo} said...

W.O.W.

Kelly said...

wow, I am completely speechless. These pictures broke my heart. I couldnt stop crying. Thank you for sharing such intimate details of the trip. I am sure it was simply life changing for the both of you. How blessed you are to have been able to make the trip and touch the people in Haiti. Things like this just make me more and more thankful for the Gospel. I know it may not completely cure heartache like this but it sure lessens the load and shortens the grieving period for some. Wow. I just cant get over what a wonderful yet heart wrenching experience this was for you. I dont know if I would have been able to handle it.

Jake and Jenna said...

my heart literally just broke. it's been broken before... but not like this. i feel like i'm in thailand all over again. i had very similar experiences there. i was on beach clean up for two weeks... picking up flip flops, suitcases, couch cushions... my heart broke there too. sometimes the service we give helps us remember why we're here on earth and what our mission is.

"to bring to pass immortality and eternal life of man."

takes on an entire new meaning. i really believe that through service, we are doing just that. thank you for giving of yourself to people who really needed it.

Jaeme + Randy said...

Wow that breaks my heart. The people seem so gracious and thankful for any help at all and that is so touching. Thank you for sharing your pictures and some of your experiences.

Dallin and Megan said...

oh wow...I don't even know what to say..beautiful and emotional images..what an experience. I am so glad you were able to go down there and provide some relief to these poor people. May God be with them.