There were survivors...those who could tell us some of the details, those who could take photos, but mainly, there was death, destruction, fear, panic, rubble and devastation.
Bits and pieces are coming to us about the terrible tragedy in Haiti. The following are small statements taken from newspapers and television broadcasts. They are NOT my words, but words of those who were there and survived to tell the story.............
"People were just running and taking cover and everything, but it was obvious to us the safest place to be was in the middle of the street, so some of them listened; others didn't. Stuff was falling. It was bad."
"It's panic, and it's chaos. It is praying in the streets, it is people singing. It is, at once, solidarity and chaos."
"We collected everyone that was wounded, and we put them in an open field. It was slightly uphill, and it was completely safe, and that was the idea: put everyone wounded in one safe location."
"I talked with a wounded woman. If I could, she asked me to look after her children, and I didn't know where they were, and I couldn't do anything about it, and then she passed away, so that was kind of rough. Lots of people passed away."
"Kind of difficult to talk about, a child dying in my hands, in my arms."
"There are hundreds, thousands, millions of people who are now trying to find water, trying not to get their wound infected, trying to find food."Back to northwest Iowa, in my art classes, I asked my students...."Can we tell stories with art? Can we show emotions with art?" They agreed that yes, this is possible. My assignment for the day was to ask them to tell the story of what is going on in Haiti....pretty challenging to draw helicopters and water and food being dropped, and children dying and bleeding and bodies sprawled and piled in makeshift morgues, and volunteers trying their best to treat the injured with very little supplies, sanitation or water. Brainstorming began. What happened? Who is helping? What kind of help is being given? How are they reaching these people? How can they bury that many people? How are parents finding their children?
My requirements were only: the size of the paper, the use of at least 5 mediums, and that somewhere in their composition, they would place a heart. When the project began, some of the students were disgusted to be drawing things that were so difficult to even think about much less dwell on and describe through their art, but as the day progressed, some of them really got into it, and they discussed and felt, and cared, and wondered, and hopefully, felt empathy for the people of this country who were so poor and economically challenged BEFORE this tragedy. AND, my hope is that perhaps they can feel some thankfulness and appreciation for what we have in this country and in our community.
Samples of life lessons learned-
America-find the missing-preservation-vision-volunteer-our world-pray- witness-life-children-go-heart-babies-journey-protect-
Haiti-Who will help?