Ben Jean, 9, of Plymouth, lost two aunts and an uncle in the earthquake in Haiti. He wrote this story for his school newspaper at St. Margaret’s Regional School in Buzzards Bay. He is the son of Arrison and Debbie Jean.
Ben Jean, 9, of Plymouth, lost two aunts and an uncle in the earthquake in Haiti. They were the sisters and brother of his father, Arrison Jean.
"It is very quiet at home now," says his mother, Debbie Jean. "The days go by and the sadness just hangs in the air. There is nothing we can do because we are so far away, and this feeling of helplessness leaves us restless. We can only pray that the grief doesn't linger too long, that the memories remain clear, and that something good will come of such a tragic loss."
Ben wrote this story for his school newspaper at St. Margaret's Regional School in Buzzards Bay, is collecting articles to send with a missionary group, items such as gauze, band aids, soap, shampoo, antibacterial hand wash, hydrogen peroxide, surgical gloves, surgical masks and similar items.
The morning started off as any other day. Children were at school, men went to work, ladies were praying. By 12 o’clock some men are fishing, chickens are laying, dogs running through the streets. Palm trees are standing proud and tall. The Cathedral, which is a giant church, stands strong and beautiful in the tropical sun.
In the school room, children are praying their end of the day prayer. The bell rings around 4:30 to let them know they are free to go. They walk home on the hot roads of Port Au Prince like any other day. But this day, every Haitian’s life will be changed forever.
Suddenly, at 4:53, the tectonic plates rub together 5 miles below the streets of Port Au Prince. People begin screaming for help. The animals are panicking. Buildings start to shake and begin to collapse because they aren’t built as hardy as they should be. Some trees are uprooting because they are also not as tough. Terror flows through the air, as 3 million lives are threatened.
People are wandering out of their houses and walking around everywhere. They are wondering what they should do next. Millions of them are homeless; too many thousands of them have died. Hundreds of them are badly injured and medical help won’t arrive for days.
Lots of people are getting tired and started to pray to God to thank him for letting them stay alive. Many groups of people are just looking for a piece of cloth for their shelter. It is getting darker and darker and there is no electricity. They were all laying in the street praying in a singing voice. When people started to fall asleep, the singing stopped.
That was January 12, 2010, a day I will never forget.
None of the Haitians that slept in the street that night knew it would take four days for the medical ship to come. Or two days before there would be water to drink. They were desperate. A big group of people didn’t know if they should climb the mountain or not. No one knew what to do. Their phones could not reach America for help. They did not know we were on our way.
This tragic event made every country come together to help this small island. Some countries such as France, United States, Canada, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, China, Israel, Dominican Republic, Spain, and England, sent their military, rescue teams, and millions of dollars to try to save Haiti.
This is one of the most tragic world disasters of all time. Even though the strong and beautiful Cathedral of Port au Prince crashed during the quake, people and families still came together and professed their faith to God on Sunday outside the fallen walls.
Ben's grandmother Victoire Francelot Jean, moved to the United States in December. Below are the three children she lost in the earthquake. Her three surviving children are Arrison Jean of Plymouth, Wesly Jean of New York and Walky Jean of Cap Haitian, Haiti. Walky, the youngest, is the only one in the family left in Haiti.Philona Jean, 33, was two weeks away from being reunited with her husband in Canada. She was in Port Au Prince waiting for paperwork to arrive by mail. She had anticipated being in Montreal by Jan. 26. Reginald Jean, 26, had just finished two years of computer programming college in Santiago, Dominican Republic. He was excited of the possiblities of finding a good job with these new skills. Andelie Jean, 20, was in her second year of nursing school in Santiago. She was home in Port Au Prince for Christmas and had planned to return to school on Jan. 22.