Diary from Haiti: 2010/02/12, Days of Mourning after the Earthquake

by Ruth Bücker/FBA,  2010/02/16

Last Friday four weeks had passed since the earthquake in Haiti. Besides the numerous buildings, the earthquake also destroyed the lives of countless people. The Haitian government called out three days of mourning in memory of the victims of the earthquake.

During this time of mourning, no street stalls could be seen. For the period of three days the impression of normality returning to the streets and shops had vanished. The survivors mourned and prayed for their beloved ones, whom they lost during the earthquake.

Next to the school grounds which serve as our accommodation there are two churches. One of them is located on the way to the Hospital of Hope. In order to listen to the words of the priests during the days of mourning, people sat in front of the church doors – on chairs and on the ground of the church square.

Sermons and Songs could be heard through loudspeakers which had been set up for the occasion. I don’t understand Creole, but despite the language barriers, strong emotions could clearly be felt. Some of the songs almost sounded cheerful; but most of them were sad and sounded like laments.

Opposite the Hospital of Hope there is a big square which once probably contained buildings. Now, only scattered rubble remains. But despite the chaos, the locals met. Dressed in white, they listened to the sermon and mourned together the whole morning long.

For reasons of respect and sympathy the humedica-team decided to limit the hospital activities to the most necessary treatments. Yesterday, all the patients met in the hospital yard and also held a church service.

For me, four weeks are a long time; at least I think so most of the time. The changes which have taken place in Haiti during this period of time also prove this fact. The laments of the survivors, however, show how strongly the people were affected. It shows that four weeks have not been a long time for getting over the terrible experiences of this devastating earthquake.

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