A mere 35 seconds nearly sealed the fate of Haiti.
At 4:53 pm on January 12, 2010 an earthquake lasting just over half a minute devastated Port-au-Prince, killing close to a quarter million, injuring hundreds of thousands more, and leaving, still one year later, more than a million homeless in and around the Haitian capital. The earthquake may have leveled Port-au-Prince in half a minute, but cholera continues to kill Haitians by the thousands. Every 35 seconds more are sickened. More die needless deaths.
It’s not a pretty picture. There’s nothing pretty about Port-au-Prince.
And as an outsider, clearly, I know nothing about the real suffering of the Haitian people. I know nothing of a mother housing a family of 14 children in a tent the size of a suburban bathroom, nothing of another mother trying to quiet a baby crying in the dark, while torrential rain turns the ground beneath her tiny tarp to liquid mud.
How can I, a privileged white woman from a wealthy nation, speak of Haitian pain with any real authority?
The fact of the matter is I can’t. I have no right. I have no knowledge of not enough food to eat or no clean water to drink. I can only speak of what I see—
And what I see—every 35 seconds—is a city still in ruin. I see the weary but not teary eyes of human beings too stunned to grieve even colossal losses.
I may indeed presume too much, but I am here in Haiti on this historic day and I will take 35 seconds to pray for Haiti—
To pray for peace in the mountains that circle Port-au-Prince this morning.
Please take 35 seconds to share this prayer with me. Take 35 seconds and pray for peace in Haiti.