A Personal Look at Haiti


Shadi Ahmadmehrabi

Wadler Fleurina

On January 12, the Caribbean nation of Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake registering a 7.0 on the Richter Scale. Haitian native Wadler Fleurina shares with us his story in regards to the event.
Wadler Fleurina: I am the first and the only of my family to come to America. All of my other family members are back home. I have a very extensive family…three sisters, three brothers, lots of uncles, lots of cousins.

I love it here. It’s a dream. Ever since I was little, my dream was to come to America to study…it’s just like a dream come true.

I had just come from work and a friend of mine called me and told me that Haiti got hit by an earthquake. I turned the TV on and there it was, “Haiti has just hit by an earthquake.” I was in disbelief because we don’t have earthquakes in Haiti.

I immediately grabbed the phone and the phone lines were dead. You couldn’t get through…not even the government. I just wanted to hear something from them.

Monique Fleurina

Monique Fleurina: I was devastated. I really felt for the people and I felt for my children because my children are Haitian. They never had an opportunity to go to Haiti and meet their family. At that point, I felt like a part of me could possibly be lost.

Wadler Fleurina: It took me eight days to actually get in contact with them. During that time, I was restless.

Monique Fleurina: Up until the time when we actually heard their voice, everybody was on edge in the household.

Wadler Fleurina: They have lost their homes. Their homes collapsed.

A lot of them are sleeping in the streets. Some of them went to nearby cities that were not affected to live with family members. But for the most part, they have lost their homes.

They have some minor injuries here and there but they’ve been doing better. I have always said a house can be replaced but to lose a life would be extremely devastating.

Their plan is to hopefully get their lives back together and start rebuilding. Try to get off the streets because they have little kids and it’s just not safe to live in the streets.

What I would really want to do is go visit my family myself, to see everybody firsthand. I think it would give me a better sense of relief knowing that I am there to experience their pain with them and help them in any way that I can.

Everything happens for a reason. Obviously, any natural disaster is not what we hope for but I remain optimistic and confident that things will be better. Maybe they will build better homes and infrastructure that could maybe withstand an earthquake.

I was just amazed by the level of cooperation and help. It’s just a testament that we can do a lot if we come together. We’re all humans and we can help each other in the face of disasters. That’s the thing I got from that: the level of compassion that has been shown towards Haiti,

I still feel restless that I am not able to do as much as I want to do right now. But I remain confident that they will rebuild the country.