January 12, 2010:
A catastrophic 7 point magnitude earthquake hit Port Au Prince, Haiti.
By January 24, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded.
An estimated three million people were affected by the quake; the Haitian government reported that an estimated 316,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. They also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged.
We all saw, didn't we. The world turned its head when CNN rolled the cameras in, and saw chaos unimaginable. We all heard of the panicked relief efforts, and watched celebrities campaign to raise money. We all heard when the money never made it to the people struggling to survive.
Today marks one year since the unimaginable happened to what was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Most of the cameramen have returned.. most of the attention has moved on the the next segment of breaking news.
I want to challenge anyone who reads this, whether it is today or a year from today, to not think of the earthquake as something that happened, but is over now. The implications of this disaster will affect generations. It shook the very foundation of this little country. I want to challenge you to not think of Haiti as just a country, but a collection of individual faces, individual human beings. I want you to find their stories and to listen to them, then find a way that you can lend yourself - your time and your voice beyond the obvious giving of money (which is so important, yet makes the heart distant..) Even though the cameras have rolled on, I challenge you to accept your daily opportunity to embody hope.
Yahoo News reports the remembrance that is going on in Haiti today:
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The normally traffic-clogged streets of the Haitian capital turned quiet Wednesday as businesses closed and people walked in solemn processions to prayer services marking the anniversary of the in the nation's history...
..."It is a grand day for us that we are able to give thanks to God that we are still here," one of the marchers, 54-year-old Acsonne Frederique, said as a preacher exhorted him and others in the cheering crowd to pray. "Others are here to repair our country. We are here to repair our souls."Read the full article here
View Samaritan's Purse's 1 year post-quake photos here
Give @ World Vision
I spent a lot of time last year, between the time the earthquake hit, and I left for Africa, confused. I was in a 6.7 magnitude earthquake almost exactly 17 years ago. The Northridge Quakes of S California.. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of 1994. What makes my life any more precious? Nothing, because it is not.
This is my piece that will go to benefit Haiti. Purchase a print here
It is featured at A Beautiful Idea: A group of artists who have committed to giving the proceeds from a piece of their art towards World Vision's relief efforts in Haiti.
Even though the cameras have rolled on, I challenge you to accept your daily opportunity to embody hope.