Messages from young people

Young people from Haiti who were volunteers in Taizé in recent years write from their beleaguered country:

Jean-Paul, January 15

I thank God for having spared me that sudden death. But it would be better to die than to live in such a situation. No more food, no money transfers; the banks that have not been destroyed are closed. All the universities have been destroyed. The corpses are in the streets. Epidemics have already been announced. I can tell you about it, but you cannot imagine this hell. Why us? The chapel of my parish is destroyed. We are sleeping on the ground in the streets. If only you could see it with your own eyes... The capital has been destroyed but the provincial towns were also damaged and there is nothing for them. We cannot even bury our loved ones.

Karl, January 18

Thanks for this small miracle that the prayer of Taizé has accomplished in my life. I got out of the rubble with a baby in my arms. I do not know how I could have accomplished such a thing, because when it all began, I saw my friend George fall under a mass of concrete. I saw many others stretching out their hands to ask for help. Since my hands were too weak to lift the rubble of concrete and iron, they were left to wait two days to die... I have not yet seen Steve, George... I hope they are safe. Peace and serenity, thank you for that legacy of Brother Roger.

Richard, January 21

At night, life and death, I can’t tell the difference.

Since Tuesday, January 12, when the country was plunged into deep distress, I saw several decades absorbed by five seconds of shaking. Hope has gone: no more money, no more job, tens of thousands without shelter, no water, no food, no electricity.

Before, the State was absent; now one can say that it has fled.

Under the rubble the dead bodies are decaying after nine days. There is a horrible smell in almost all the neighborhoods; we sleep in the open next to the garbage, the smell of urine and feces. Epidemics of an unknown kind will follow.
But God is great and since he is love, his plan of love is already prepared for us. In addition there are the songs of Taizé, “Jésus le Christ” and “Fiez-vous en lui”, that give me strength and confidence I would never have imagined. I would ask you to repeat them often during the prayers in memory of HAITI.

Just imagine for a moment: a generation that has had almost no education regarding natural disasters is dismembered by them. I did not know that after an earthquake aftershocks could be so hard; the whole night while sleeping I suffer from palpitations and when an aftershock occurs while I am dozing, it takes my breath away.

A major panic has set in because the number of police has diminished and many prisoners have escaped. Every night cases of robberies, rapes, shootings and so on are recorded.

And what is even worse, they circulate rumors. Tuesday, just hours after the tragedy, a group of thugs, with the objective of stealing what remained to the survivors, went running around saying that the waters were rising: “Tsunami”. Imagine people seriously injured, with broken bones, trying to run. Oh Lord!

Ask all the peoples throughout the world, during the meetings in Taizé, to pray for 12 months on the 12th day of each month for the Haitian people. Do not hesitate! It is very important.

A bishop’s statement

On January 21, Bishop Pierre Dumas, a close friend of Taizé, president of Catholic Charities of Haiti, stated:

“(...) I think our love and how we deal with this crisis will help us enhance our humanity, to be more generous, open and available to others, because the symbolic forms of living together have been destroyed. All the symbols that united us: the cathedral, the presidential palace, ministries, schools, religious communities and many other places have collapsed.

“Now we must build again to live together. We must do so in a way that eliminates bias and discrimination and that breeds trust. We must do so in a way that fosters solidarity and open-mindedness. I think that this event offers us the opportunity to rebuild our country in a different way and to understand the bond that unites us. (...) This does not mean rebuilding things the way they were before, because we can build a better Haiti, where the person is at the heart of everything.”

Last updated: 25 January 2010
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