Brandy Campbell is with a team in Haiti gathering earthquake follow-up reports for Compassion. She is scheduled to return home tomorrow, Dec. 10, but the Port-au-Prince airport is currently closed due to local unrest.
I feel a tremendous burden to bring Haiti to you today.
Haiti is both exactly what I thought it would be, and nothing that I thought it would be.
On the drive through town, I saw the piles of rubble I anticipated. But I also saw buildings twisted precariously, like dark versions of a Dr. Seuss illustration. Concrete curving as concrete was never meant to curve. Nearly collapsed structures, held up by a single plank. Haiti somehow defies gravity.
I saw people begging on the streets, just as I thought I would. But I also saw a young man, profoundly handicapped, sitting in a dark alley, pounding his head against the wall. That single image of brokenness, of pain, sits in my chest like a stone. Haiti somehow breaks my heart.
I listened to a classroom full of Haitian children sing “Joy to the World.” But while they sang their precocious tune, a translator told me that not 50 feet away, bodies were found a few weeks ago. Ten months after the earthquake. Haiti somehow knocks the breath out of me.
Today I heard stories more devastating than I could have imagined. Each with an undercurrent of hope so strong, so relentless, that I had to bite my lip to keep from sobbing. Haiti somehow cuts to the core of me.
A man told me today that Haiti was broken. This I knew. But then he told me that Haiti, his country, his home, is also beautiful. Haiti somehow lives.
It is my tremendous honor to bring Haiti to you today. Battered, broken, beautiful Haiti.