Tina’s Account of the Earthquake

Here is an account of the days following the earthquake. All these miracles and events happened because of prayer, God watching over us, and trusting in Him. Throughout all our ordeal my parents and I were praying and putting our trust in God.

January 12, 2010

Tuesday the 12th of January was a normal day for me. I got up and left early and did a few things before heading off to Port-au-Prince about 11:00 a.m. to pick up my parents who were scheduled to arrive on AA at 4:15 p.m. I left Rachel with Linda Roller (a friend who is spending a few months with us) in Jacmel and set off for Port-au-Prince. A good friend a co worker Pastor Gerard Eustache had come to drive me to Port-au-Prince. We arrived about 2:00 p.m. I have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and it was acting up so he dropped me off at LeKaribe Hotel and was going to send a driver with my vehicle to pick up my parents. He was going to go get ready and go to Bible Study at his Church. Mom & Dad’s plane arrive at 3:53 and they were out of the airport by 4:20. I talked to them via cell phone and they were on their way to the hotel. At 4:40 p.m. I talked to them again and they were less than 10 minutes from the hotel @ 4;44 an earthquake hit Haiti. I had just hung up from talking to another friend on my cell phone. It threw me off of the bed and onto the floor. I hit my shoulder hard on the bedside table. Immediately a huge portrait fell off the wall on to the bed where I had been sitting. The television landed by my right foot and a mirror landed by my left foot shattering glass all over me. Praise God I was not cut. I did not know what to do. To try and jump from my balcony ro try and get out the door. I finally decided on the door because there was 2 floors below me (lobby and 1st floor). It took me about 10 minutes to get my door open I was the first door on the floor on our wing of the hotel. I looked to my right and you could not see any other rooms for all the debris and plaster falling. I crawled over debris and made it to the landing on our floor by the elevators and crawled down the emergency stairs. I made it to the 1st floor but could not make it to the lobby because it was caved in and you could not see it. I remembered a back stairway on 1st floor and crawled and walked over debris to get there. Once I got to the back stairway leading outside I was able to safely escape the hotel. Many people were injured and hurt from broken glass and fallen debris. Once outside it was terrible. I could hear people screaming and could still see houses falling off the mountainsides. People began rescuing people still stuck in the hotel. One of the rescue people climbed in my hotel window and retrieved a small overnight bag which had my purse in it.

I had my cell phone in my pocket. I tried calling Mom & Dad and Gerard and I could not get thru to anyone because all the cell phone towers in our area had fallen down. Everyone was in the street waiting on rescue teams. No one came. About 9:00 they finally made us all go to the tennis court because the after shocks were so strong that they were afraid that the hotel was going to finish collapsing the rest of the way.

We were given a glass of water and appetizers that was suppose to have been for a conference that night. Everyone was given 4 small cracker size appetizers with smoked salmon and caviar. Boy did it taste good. I felt sorry for the children crying. They had let people whose had lost their houses in the neighborhood sleep on the tennis court also I used my overnight bag as a pillow. I am so amazed how God takes care of us. I was cold. A man named Antoine brought me his coat. He had just flown in from Washington D.C. that morning. He had a suit on plus a coat. He gave me his coat to cover up with. I kept praying for Mom, Dad, and Gerard’s safety. I dozed on and off all night until 5:00 a.m.

January 13, 2010

I dozed on and off all night until 5:00 a.m. Security tried to make me stay on the tennis court or by the pool but I went and sat on the curb in front of the hotel. I had decided to wait until 8 a.m. and If I could not get a hold of Mom and Dad then I was going to try and get a motorcycle taxi to take me to Gerard’s and down the street where I knew they were traveling down when the earthquake hit. At 7:46 my Nissan Patrol pulled up with Mom, Dad, and Gerard’s driver. They had been trying to get to me all night. They finally gave up at midnight. They had been able to connect up with Gerard. They all slept in the car on the street in front of Gerard’s house. Gerard lost everything except his Bible, clothes on his back and his vehicle. If it has not been a church night he would have most likely have been in the house when it collapsed. He was only 1 block from his house when the earthquake hit on his way to Bible Study.

I was never so glad to see anyone in my life. I ran towards the car and Dad jumped out and ran towards me. Mom was so overwhelmed she laid her head on the window and cried. We decided to go back to Gerard’s and try a small 15-20 bed hotel near Gerard’s. Because all the big hotels in out area had collapsed. The El Rancho, Montana, Hotel Christopher just to name a few. It should have taken us 10 minutes to get to where Gerard’s house use to be it took us 3 hours. I have never saw so much destruction. I felt like I was in a war zone. People walking everywhere in the Streets. Children sitting beside the roads with no adults in sight. We went by one of the hospitals and they had tied sheets on poles in the yard to handle the injured. Dad and I saw a lady die right in front of our eyes. You could not look at a building without seeing a foot, arm, leg, or head sticking out from under the collapsed buildings. Dead bodies stacked 2 and 3 high in some places. I saw 4 little children laying dead beside the road. Someone had covered them with a sheet. Mothers were stopping by the bodies and lifting up the sheet to see if it was their missing child. This broke my heart. There were dead bodies lined up along the streets.

We finally made it to the Coconut Villa Hotel. The walls surrounding the hotel had fallen down but the hotel itself was still in tact. Most foreigners do not stay there so we were able to get a room. They wre dipping water out of the pool to clean the rooms and for people to bathe in. Lots of people were sleeping in the yard of the hotel by the pool. We collapsed on our beds and fell asleep we were awaken a few times by tremors (after shock). We got up around 5:00 and was offered some goulash. I didn’t ask what was in it, nor did my parents we were just thankful to have food. Gerard walked to the hotel to check on us around 6:00 p.m. He had been at his Church. He was going to sleep in his car again and watch his house because people were starting to loot houses. He was going to wait until the after shocks were over to see if they couldn’t dig their way in and retrieve some things. I was so thankful he was safe. He did not want to stay with us. Him and some of his Church people were going to help with the night vigil in his neighborhood to keep people from looting.

I still had not been able to make contact with Rachel and Linda in Jacmel. Finally, my phone rang and it was a neighbor stating Rachel wanted to talk to me. She wanted to know when I was coming because the road to Jacmel was broken. She said Linda and her were sleeping outside in a field behind our house and then the line went dead.

We were finally able to get out to the States for 2 minutes until we were cut off and let my brother-in-law and sister know we were okay. Chuck was able to e-mail Rachel and let me know she was okay.

January 14, 2010

We were offered bread for breakfast. Again, we were thankful for what we could find. We were told we would have chicken and rice around 1:00 or 2:00. We were excited to hear this.

We were advised not to try and travel to Jacmel. Dad and I walked around the neighborhood of the hotel we were at. It was horrible. People were literally sleeping in the streets.

I was finally able to make contact with Rachel and Linda again and the States.

Gerard stopped by around 2:00 p.m. and said he would send a driver to drive us to Jacmel the next day. We were eleated.

January 15, 2010

O Cap, Gerard’s driver came about 5:46 a.m. and we headed for Jacmel. I was overwhelmed by what I saw. They were starting to burn bodies in the streets. I saw dead bodies tied to pieces of tin and being pulled behind vehicles to burn sites. I saw 5 heads that were still burning the rest of the bodies had all ready burned. I cannot clear my sinuses of the smell of burning flesh. I passed by the ruins of the Palace National of Haiti, the downtown prison, the Palace of Justice and many other government buildings in ruins. There was not an open space that people had not made make shift housing on. This was done by driving poles in the ground and covering them with a shirt, towel, sheet, or any other type of cloth they could find.

There was a mass exodus from the city. People were exiting Port-au-Prince on foot, carrying what little belongings they had salvaged along with their children and other family members. Some had not been able to salvage anything they just carried their children. One man carried a child on his shoulders and another in his arms. They were heading for the country. As we traveled outside of Port-au-Prince towards the mountains I was still overwhelmed by the devastation.

We finally made it 1/3 of the way over the mountain to Jacmel and encountered a rock slide, or so we thought. Actually the road had caved in. At the bottom of the cave in was 3 busses that had been full of people and no survivors. We would not even get across the deep ravine by motorcycle. We had to turn around and go back to Port-au-Prince. We tried to go to the small airport to see if we could get a charter to Jacmel but was told that the small airport was closed and we were turned back at the gate. We finally arrived back at the Hotel again around noon and the room we had vacated that morning was the only room they had left. We were thankful and once again thanked our heavenly Father for providing for us.

I was really down because we could not communicate with Rachel or Jacmel. Finally, some of my staff got thru for a minute or two. I learned Rachel and Linda were still sleeping outside. The island was still getting after shocks. My friends Carol and Glyn Price were able to get thru from the States. They were such an encouragement.

Gerard came by and said we couldn’t try again until Monday. We were thankful to have chicken and rice again for supper. Only meal of the day. But he would be by the next morning.

January 16, 2010

By 11:00 a.m. we still had not seen Gerard. We continue to feel the after shocks of the earthquake. Buildings that were standing but unstable are continuing to fall from the tremors. I decided to drive the 8 blocks to Gerard’s house. I knew they were going to try and see if they couldn’t get some stuff out. I saw that he was busy with some of his Church people trying to see if they could get anything out of the ruins of his house.

I told him I was going to the small airport again to see if I could get a charter to Jacmel. He said he head I would not be able too. Once again when I got to the small airport I was told no planes were flying. I told them I would check for myself (I said it with a smile) and went on thru the gate. I told Mom & Dad to wait in the SUV. I went inside and the airport was deserted except for a few people. The few people who were there told me that the airport was closed. No flights. I saw a mechanics who works with Missionary Aviation Flights (MAF) outside messing with one of the planes. I asked a security guard to go get him for me. He said he was not cleared to go out to the planes. I asked him to find someone who was authorized. He found someone. Todd came inside to talk to me. I explained my situation and he said I would have to talk to one of the pilots by the name of Will, but it didn’t look promising. Will one of the pilots came in and I explained by situation to him. He looked at his watch and it was 12:40. He said if you can be back here by 2:00 p.m. I will try but I heard the runway in Jacmel is damaged but we will try it. Going to the airport we experienced a bad traffic jam. Took us over an hour to get there. We made it back to Gerard’s house within 10 minutes and picked up a driver to return my SUV to Gerard, swung by the hotel and picked up Mom and Dad’s luggage and was back at the airport by 1:20. We did not encounter any traffic jam. We were in the air by 2:15 p.m. I prayed all the way to Jacmel. By 2:45 we were on the ground in Jacmel. They had just fixed the runway and 3 planes from the Dominican Republic had landed with supplies for Jacmel. If we had left that morning or the day before we would not have been able to land. All these miracles happened because of prayer and trusting in God.

Boss Telefant picked us up and took us to Cyvadier. We were stopped by so many people in our village running towards the truck and stopping us. So many people were glad to see us. We all got lots of hugs and kisses and many others were dancing in the street.

Rachel was extremely excited to see us. She ran outside to meet us and jumped in the truck and starting hugging and kissing everyone. LeeLein and Esther (Rachel’s friends) grabbed me as soon as I got out of the truck.

We dropped the luggage off and then Boss Telefant, Met Tony, Dad, Linda, Rachel, and I went to Jacmel to survey the damage. It was bad but not as bad as Port-au-Prince. They recovered 2,000 bodies in one day and many more are still missing and presumed dead. The hospital collapsed. We went by and there were people everywhere in the yard. Children with no parents. I told them I would be back tomorrow to help as much as I could.

I talked with the Mayor of Jacmel and told him we would take up to 12 children under the age of 6 who had lost their parents. He was relieved and very thankful. I was exhausted and told him I would see him tomorrow.

It is now 8:30 p.m.I just felt a huge tremor from the earthquake. I am going to close. I am so overwhelmed I do not know what to do or where to start. Tomorrow I am going back to the hospital and the mayor’s office and see what I can do to help. Linda, Mom, Dad, and Rachel will also go to help.

Here are short term plans:

  • We are going to feed additional children besides our school children.
  • There is a possibility we will start a small orphanage if the need is there.
  • Here are some specific prayer requests:
    1. Pray for the children who lost parents.
    2. Pray God will guide us in helping the neediest children.
    3. Pray for wisdom for us in choosing children who need help.
    4. Pray God will provide the needed funds to help

Water is life.

RainCatchers is able to help people in Haiti only because of donations from people who believe in what we do and want to make a real difference. By helping fund our efforts, you can help give life to people in Haiti. [ Donate Now ]

Connect With Us