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Six reasons why they'll rebuild Haiti

"The earthquake is a signal that Haiti really has to change," Lolo Beaubrun, 53, says from the tent in his garden. "All our symbols are gone, the National Palace, Cathedral, Ministry of Justice. The country we knew was destroyed. It's time for revolution and revelation." He wants to create 43 states in Haiti based on traditional tribal boundaries. "States like you have in the U.S. It balances power." The founder of Boukman Eksperyans, a politically and culturally important band, Beau-brun will sing about his ideas so they will be heard. "Music is powerful in Haiti, it is part of everything. It is social, spiritual, cultural, economic." He was home with his daughter when the earthquake hit. Their concrete house held up, but "it was the longest 35 seconds of my life. I tell you, I'm done with concrete, man." His family then moved into the garden tent. "A friend of my from the U.S. is a Kiowa Indian. He wants to come make me a teepee. If I get my teepee, bon! That's where I'll be living."

Two hours after losing her parents, sister and home, a single mother wandered the remains of her neighborhood. Chaotic sounds and unfamiliar smells surrounded her. She was numb, unable to process the world. From the rubble she heard a baby's cry. Her mind snapped back. Between two angled pieces of concrete, she found a two-week-old baby in a miracle space. To the baby girl's left and right were her dead parents, crushed under concrete. Cadiche Julande Jean Baptiste, 30, took her new daughter and went to look for her other two children. Both were found alive and well. She named the new baby Princesse Miraky. Princess Miracle. Now they all live along with her niece, who lost her mother, under a tarp in a tent city. "There are a lot of kids on the street without mothers and fathers. ... But we love our children. I love these children. I love this baby."

Like a machine, all day long Eliezer Jean Edward shovels rocks and debris into his sifter in the rubble of Port-au-Prince and watches powder fall away from chunks of concrete. In a few days the 42-year-old will have enough powder to make new concrete blocks, which he sells for about $2 apiece. He will send the money to his family, who joined the migration out of Port-au-Prince after Edward lost his father, sister and daughter in the quake. He knows his bricks will be used to rebuild Haiti and the money he makes will help rebuild his family, but he is saddened that it will not be enough. "We can rebuild Haiti the way it was, but we can't do any better than that alone. If Haitians could do better for Haiti we already would have done it, before the earthquake. We need a lot of help from the blancs (whites) if anything is going to change."

Pastor Jean F.E. St. Cyr wants his spiritually desperate flock to know one thing: This is not God's judgment on Haiti. "So many people believe that right now. I just want them to know there are wicked people who survived and good people who didn't. If God worked to kill only the wicked then they would all already be gone and we would be living in heaven on Earth." The quake destroyed his church, so he has held services every day in Port-au-Prince's tent cities instead. "People ask me when I'm leaving," says St. Cyr, who is a U.S. resident with a home in Kissimmee. "I'm not leaving until no one needs me here anymore."

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mardela Scott can transport anything anywhere. She's done it in Iraq and Afghanistan. "If it's parts, food, tents, uniforms, anything you need to distribute, I can do it. Under any conditions," she says. Scott, 28, was born to Haitian parents in Miami and speaks Creole. She volunteered to come to Haiti as a translator, her first time in the country. Five years ago, after watching news from Haiti, she went to bed and had a dream. "I was directing Haitian people in my own warehouse. The forklift was broken, so we had to work together unloading rice. Everyone had their own job and the supplies were coming in and going out like clockwork." The next day she asked the lead engineer at Fort Campbell, Ky., for a copy of the Army warehouse operation blueprints. Working from those, she drew what she saw in her dream into a plan. She is saving to buy land in Haiti when she gets out of the Army and will start building her own distribution center to make aid donations more effective. "Dreams tell you when someone needs you. I know I will come back here and this is how I will help Haiti."

While Dr. Jacques Lesly Agenor's life waits in Miami, his heart, soul and self are in Haiti indefinitely. His wife, 12-year-old daughter and thriving ObGyn practice are on hold as he spends his days at the head of a unending line of people in need: people with dysentery, untreated wounds, malaria and those who are simply hungry. The 52-year-old, who was born in Port-au-Prince, lost his brother, who was also a doctor, in the quake. "When I call my family they are worried about what could happen. There could be an outbreak of infectious disease, there could be violence. But we are a poor country, and we just don't have enough resources. If you're a doctor ... you have a choice, but there's really no choice. It's hard. My family needs me but my people need me more."

Six reasons why they'll rebuild Haiti 03/06/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 6, 2010 7:24pm]
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