What They Have in Common:
Over the last 24 hours we have heard the stories of more than forty children who survived the earthquake in Port Au Prince and have sought refuge in communities where we are now building schools. As we listened to each child, it became apparent that their stories had many common threads. I would like to share some of them with you.
All of the children tell of how moments after the earthquake struck it became suddenly dark, as if the sun had disappeared and given way to a black cloud or a night of destruction. After some time, the intense cloud of dust and debris settled and the light of day returned but only to reveal the gruesome images of mangled bodies and human suffering that none of these children will forget. Each child saw people they knew pinned beneath the rubble. They heard their screams as they writhed in pain and pleaded for rescue. And they saw the lifeless bodies of those who were crushed in the rubble and would never be rescued.
All of the children lost friends and they all lost loved ones.
Each ran into the streets seconds after the earth began to shake. Each slept in those streets that night, whether their houses were crushed or not. All continued living in the streets for days and some for weeks, before finding shelter.
When the quake struck at 4:53 pm that January day, all of the kids were doing what kids do; playing soccer, doing their homework, playing with friends, doing chores or helping their parents.
All of these children have dreams and some have even formed new ones. Some want to be doctors and nurses, while others want to be engineers so someday they can build safe homes for their own children.
Each of these kids attends a buildOn school.
Each child has hope. And each child can still smile.
Over the next few days, I will try to open a window into the lives of some of these children with three short posts.