Never Forget, January 12th 2010.
At 4:53 PM on January 12th, 2010 an earthquake hit Haiti with a magnitude 7.0. Several 5.0 and higher magnitude aftershocks happened in the days following. This earthquake was devastating, and I am sure that you all remember seeing the horrific photos in the media in the days and weeks following.
Today, I want to share with you the story of that day from the eyes and the heart of our Assistant Director Rithza. Rithza was in Port-Au-Prince that day and here is her story, in her words. (She asked that I only edit to translate it into a more readable version for the English Language)
My name is Rithza Pierre. I grew up with my aunt in PAP, because my mother passed away when I was 8 years old. I would like to share with you my experience from January 12, 2010.
I was in school that day. I was 17 years old. My school was very strict about leaving school early for any reason at all. Even if you were sick they would not allow you to leave early. That day I left early because my Aunt was coming to Haiti on the 13th and I was so excited to go home and prepare for her arrival, to welcome her. That day the gate man did not even question me as I left school. When I arrived home my grandmother asked why I was home early and I told her that I didn’t feel well. I was standing and watching T.V. when the earthquake started. I felt the house shaking and I thought it was a big truck driving by, I continued to watch T.V. Then the second shaking was very hard. I cried out so loud asking my aunt “What is that!” Her answer was to get outside, it is an earthquake! After running outside one word I remember I said was “God, I know I will die, but please save me, please.” While standing outside I was watching the house I was in moving up and down. One of my uncles that lived with us was not home yet. I was crying so much because I couldn’t communicate with him, worried about where he was and if he was safe. I slept outside for 3 full days, and on the 4th day my aunt and I went to hospitals searching for my uncle. We passed by my school that day. Laying on the cliff were my teacher, and all of my friends from school. All of them dead. Waiting for the machines to come and scoop up their bodies and dump them into a truck. I could not stop crying. The tears were of sadness and also tears of joy, I was giving all glory to God. I did not have any close relatives die that day, (We did find my Uncle and he was ok) All I could do was help people now. There was no clean water any where so we started giving water to people in my village.
We slept outside on the ground for a full month before finding other shelter. In July of 2010 my aunt moved us to Arcahaie, she was frightened to have us in PAP because the situation was very bad. There was no food, no water, and people were suffering all around us.
Through all of this I just want to thank God for everything He does.
I just want to thank God for everything He does? How often do we do that, especially in times of crisis or tragedy.
Today, I want to thank God that He guided Rithza out of her school that day. The Holy spirit was present in her. He knew that there was a much bigger plan for Rithza and He needed to show her what that was. Through all the tragedy that day we know for a fact that if the earthquake had not happened she would not have met and married Rodnald. She would not be part of 7:10 Foundation today. She is such an amazing asset to us, and God knew her servant heart.
Pray for the hearts of everyone today, on this 8th anniversary of the earthquake that stole so many lives. Pray that everyone might have the same peace as Rithza, and that all glory is given to God in all things.