Haiti’s 35 Second Tragedy: a Second Chance for Peace

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.

32 thoughts on “Haiti’s 35 Second Tragedy: a Second Chance for Peace

  1. Pingback: Thank You. « The Ramblings

    • Thank you, Sunshine! I appreciate your reaching out–and Sara does too. But more importantly it matters that you reach out to Haiti–heart to heart. Thanks for caring! Thanks for sharing!
      Hugs from Haiti,


  2. Pingback: Press for Port-au-Prince: Where Were You? | A.Hab.'s View of the World

    • Thank you, Jane–thanks so much for remembering Haiti with food. Hunger is a huge issue here, so it’s perfect that you reach out with a meal. This is such a loving gesture. I can’t thank you enough, my friend. And Haiti thanks you, as well!
      Hugs from Haiti,


  3. Pingback: Haiti « Life in the Bogs

  4. I think acknowledging Haiti means dealing with a reality most of us can’t, or rather, don’t want to, imagine. And yet, even should we try, we can’t imagine what it is like taking a step in a Haitian’s shoe. The courage and will to go on after such a big disaster struck down so many people you’ve known and loved, while staring the evidence of it in the face everyday, must be incredible. It is as admirable as the people who jump in to help after the fact and don’t mind getting their hands dirty.
    May you all receive the courage and strength to keep forging ahead in getting the Haitians back on their feet again.


    • Thanks so much for reading. You’re correct–most of us–even those of us actually here in Haiti–find it difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of Haitians affected by this disaster. As a Time.com article points out, Port-au-Prince looks like the bombed out remains of European cities after World War II–rubble everywhere and no place for it to go.

      I appreciate your taking the time to comment and hope you’ll stop by again! But most of all, thanks for thinking about Haiti today!


  5. I am praying for Haiti today, and once I finish this comment will write a post (I will try to link to you, fingers crossed I do it correctly).
    But it is notable that I will be writing from my comfortable house with a speedy cable connection, in a town that received 2 centimeters of snow last night and you would think we are in our own state of emergency. My perspective pales in comparison to your own, and the guilt I feel therefore weighs on me. Who am I to write of disasters of such magnitude, while women like the ones you mention try to keep their family alive?
    I will try, but hold my head low in shame at the injustice of fate.


    • Thanks so much for the prayers, Deanna. What I find amazing is that it takes all of our perspectives to get an accurate view of the world–your angle matter much, because you will see things that those of us too close to the situation might miss. And, your humility matters–is such a gift. I thank you, but more importantly Haiti thanks you–for your prayers and for your caring!
      Hugs from Haiti,


  6. Pingback: 35 seconds

    • Thanks to you, also, for writing about Haiti. Your caring matters so much! And how cool that you send your love and concern out into the world through your blog. Words are powerful. They make a difference in the world!


  7. I feel the same way as Deanna. But what you wrote gave me “permission” to presume to have the capacity to imagine what it must have been like, and to write about it. For that, I thank you.


    • But it’s so cool to me that you wrote. I reallly can’t tell you how much your support means, not only to me, but to the people of Haiti who need so much. My prayers is that we, as bloggers, could make a difference here, and we can, because words are a powerful weapon against poverty! I truly believe that!
      Hugs to you from Haiti,


  8. Pingback: Meat Showers and Kazoos | BugginWord

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