Adam Mclane went on our last trip to Haiti. He met a young man who lost everything except his faith. He told the story to Wrecked. If you have time, check out the poignant video at bottom.
It started with a touch. While exploring a
neighborhood, the pastor of a local church lead me into the yard of a
very nice home. Rather, what was once a very nice home. The concrete
home had crumbled during the quake. The outside walls fell first, then
the second story partially collapses onto the first floor.
I was in
full journalist mode.
I asked the pastor if he thought it would be okay
if I took a few pictures. I took some wide angle shots to capture the
size of the home and the magnitude of the destruction.
Then I walked
towards the rubble pile to get some close-ups of the front steps. Just
as I was looking at the lighting and the subject, I felt a gentle touch
on my right elbow. I turned my head to the right just in time to see
they eyes of a young man, about my height.
“This is my house,” he told
me in broken English. “I used to live here until the earthquake.
so sorry.” I lowered my camera as I now felt like an intruder. “I see
that you are fine, was everyone else OK?” He took a few seconds to
answer and I wasn’t sure if he had run out of words in English or if he
was struggling to find the right words.
Either way, I instantly shifted from journalist
mode to pastor mode. As I turned 90 degrees to face him he began to
speak again. “As I felt the house begin to shake I started to run
outside. I made it to the steps when the house…” He put both hands out
and motioned that the building collapsed. I got trapped but someone was
able to pull me out.” Then a long, painful pause, “But my sister died.” My heart sank.
We continued to talk. I couldn’t figure out if his
parents also died or if they had moved away to another Province… But
the fact remained that this 18 year old boy was now all alone.”Where
are you living?” it was a question I asked because I didn’t know what
else to say. “I don’t have anywhere to go. So I try to sleep where I
can, mostly in a field.” He said matter-of-factly.
An 18 year-old boy, deep in mourning, sleeping
under the stars among the cries and chaos of a collapsed city. My mind
raced with thoughts of what it must be like.
“Do you have bad dreams since the earthquake?”
He told me that he barely slept. That he just laid on the ground hoping
for sleep that never came. It seemed as though each moment of his day
was consumed in reliving the horror. “Was it loud when the house fell
down?” I asked him. “Yes, very loud. I cannot forget the sound of the
walls falling.”There are thousands of Bertrand’s in Haiti today. But
the Holy Spirit was prompting me to find out what his needs are and see
if there was anything I could do. We talked a little about food and
shelter, but he didn’t seem interested. So I closed our time by praying
“Mr. Adam, there is one way that you can help
me.” His eyes now full of fiery hope. “I don’t have anything. I have no
place to live, no food, no water. But that doesn’t matter to me because
I know God will take care of me. The one thing I need, when the school
re-opens, is to go back to school. But I do not have money for the
fees. My parents are gone.”
floored me. It represented the hope we heard all over the city for the
future of the Haitian people. Somehow they know that immediate relief
aid is only part of the problem. This young man knew that to truly
change his life he needed to lay a solid foundation of education.
I took his picture and told him I would see
what I could do. What he didn’t know is that I took that picture and
broadcast it on Twitter and Facebook. Within minutes I had several
people willing to pay the 3000 Haitian dollars (About $75 USD) for him to attend school for one-year.
It’s easy to get lost in the numbers of this
event. More than 200,000 people killed. 3,000,000 people displaced.
More than 750,000 living in tent cities.
And yet each of those numbers has an individual
story to tell. Each of them has their own pain and hopes to wrestle
though. Each has their own grieving process.
In a way, while I cannot tell all of their stories, each story needs to be heard.
The following video tells one of the most heart-rending stories we heard. The moment when the husband broke down crying was electric.