When my daughter Diesa was in her early twenties, she planned a trip to Haiti to lead a camp for a young girls’ basketball program called “Raise her” in January 2010.
Arriving in Haiti she met the amazing Dr. Renee who created the Haitian Academy, with whom she would work on her program for the girls. One day, as she was waiting in one of the classrooms for the next group of girls who were late, all of a sudden she had an intuition, a gut feeling, an impulse out of the blue to grab her bag and get out as fast as she could.
At that moment of stepping out, she felt as if a big truck was rolling after her as the buildings started crumbling around her. It was the big Haitian earthquake which hit the island. Because she intuitively recognized God’s premonition she could be safe. Soon after that episode, Dr Renee drove the school bus with Diesa to check on the casualties and bring people to the hospital, as much as they could. It was untold hardship to hear people screaming under buildings. At this point Diesa was drafted to the hospital, where she was attending patients and putting her hand to things she had never done before, like putting a cast on someone, or encouraging people with words when no medicine could be found.
She said it was amazing how people responded to words of care, of love, of reassurance, words of comfort, of hope: “You will be OK, you are tough, you will make it.” Men, women and children were grabbing her arm or hand, or leg, thinking she was the American doctor, who could do everything and anything and with her around they would be OK; they would be safe. In Haiti, their motto is: l’espoir fait vivre – Hope brings life.
As for me at home, seeing and hearing the horrific news on television about the devastating earthquake, and trying to keep my husband away from the news, I did not hear from my daughter. During the longest 48 hours of my life, my dear friend Inge was with me, trying also to make sense of it all, and she kept saying to me, “She is tough, she is strong, she will make it,” doing with me what Diesa was doing at the hospital.
Finally, Diesa could find a computer and email us a message which said:
I am ok!!! Be strong and courageous, and do not be afraid or discouraged, for the lord God, my God is with you (1 Cor 28:20). I am using internet at a missionary s house which only works sometimes. No cell services anywhere. Please tell my mom I am OK. I love you all. Pray for Haiti. We need medical help. Hospitals collapsed.
As I was finishing writing this story this morning, I read in one of my emails a friend of mine quoting John F. Kennedy, one of our past presidents, who closed his inaugural address with these words:
With a good conscience, our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking HIS blessing and HIS help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.
Be safe, be home, be tough.
Blessings from your friend, Elisabeth