On January 12, 2010, our world was forever changed by the devastating earthquake that left the people of Port au Prince Haiti in shambles. The hurt, pain and suffering that the world felt due to this horrible situation is being displayed through efforts to make a difference and help those in need.
A friend of mine is writing a story entitled “Earthquake in Haiti hits home with Haitian Americans” and asked me if I would answer a few questions for her. Being of Haitian heritage, it was the least I could do to share how this disaster has changed my life.
1. Tell me about your background where were you/ your parents born?
My name is Lucy Danez Dazilma and I was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on April 25, 1985. This city, as well as Miami is home of many West Indian natives.Living in South Florida was much like what I would imagine living in Haiti was like. I always tell people that I am Haitian, not Haitian-American, because although I was born on American soil, everything and everyone around was pure Haitian. The blood that runs through my veins come from Haiti and thus, that is who I am.
My parents, Kenold and Yonese Dazilma were born and raised in Haiti. My father was born in Gonaives and my mother in Port-au-Paix, Haiti.
My father flew from Haiti, to the Bahamas, and then to the U.S. in 1980. He was a tailor in Haiti but worked in Miami making furniture.
My mother is the oldest of her four sisters and one brother. She assumed responsibility for helping to raise her siblings when her mother and one of her sisters moved to the U.S. in 1980. She arrived in the U.S. by boat, the transportation of some early 1980’s and 1990’s refugees.
2. When did you first hear about the earthquake? Second earthquake? How was this experience?
My friend Laura and I were on our way to dinner at Cheesecake Factory. On our way, I stopped at the beauty supply store. When I returned to my vehicle, one of my aunts texted me stating that an earthquake 7.0 in magnitude had hit Haiti. At that moment, I didn’t think anything of it. I thought, well, Haiti has been hit by some crazy storms in the past, surely, they will overcome an earthquake. But I remember also thinking that 7.0 was a pretty large number…yet I shrugged it off and continued with my evening.
3. How did you react and why?
When I got home to watch CNN, I want to say I was in disbelief. You know when someone is so shocked that reality is no longer that? That was me. I tried to figure out the facts and not base any of the events on emotion. The fact was, many people were injured and were going to die. Everyone knows how poor Haiti is. How could they survive this catastrophe? But I had faith that something great would be in store for my people.
4. How many friends and relatives do you have in Haiti?
I really can’t count! Lol. Most of my parents relatives reside in the countryside, so they were unharmed. But to this day, some family have died and others still have not been found.
5. What have they lost? Who have they lost?
Since most of my family were in the country, their lives were spared.
6. What have you done in reaction? Fundraiser or donations etc.? Events you’ve attended ?
Everyone wants to do something. Everyone wants to get up and go to Haiti and help. Realistically, at this time, it is not smart for those like me who do not have a medical background to be there at this moment. With that being said, I’ve donated my money (which is the best one can do right now). I’ve used social media to create awareness and hopefully that will cause people to take action. And last night, I attended a benefit concert held by a local christian church (Atlanta Berean Seventh Day Adventist Church).
7. How has the second quake affected you?
Not much of a difference in my feelings. After over 50 aftershocks, it’s hard to differentiate them from one another. You just keep keep praying for the best. Overall, just an overwhelming feeling of helplessness and sorrow.
8. What has helped you deal with the recent devastation?
I am someone who suppresses my emotions to a fault. It isn’t something healthy to do but I have to think positively. I can’t cry; I have to be strong for those that are weak. When I read stories of people being recovered from the rubble a week after the quake, still alive and well, that gives me hope; that helps me to continue smiling, to continue dancing, to continue surviving. My people have a tenacious spirit. The spirit of warriors. They give me strength.
9. How does this make you feel over all?
I’m hopeful. I know Haiti cannot be rebuilt overnight. I know that this earthquake revealed a lot that people may not have known about the government in Haiti. I know that with the aid of America and surrounding countries, Haiti will stand tall again. I am confident that in the midst of tribulation, Haitians everyone are still shouting praises to God for His continuous mercies. And I know, my God saves.
*If you care about people, if you care about justice, if you care about humanity, please, donate to the Red Cross or Yele Haiti and make even a small difference to those that need it.*