Monday, May 31, 2010

House Collapse

As I opened the door of our house this afternoon I was shocked to see large amounts of water pooling in numerous places with water dripping from the ceiling. Torrential rain continued to pour down as I scrambled up onto our roof to throw some pieces of tin over the areas where the roof was leaking. Within seconds I was completely drenched, but continued to work away at temporarily fixing the leaks that had formed because of the earthquake. Suddenly I heard a loud rumbling sound, and the roof under my feet began to shake violently! My mind immediately flashed back to earthquake scenes, as I once again heard Anoud and Denise screaming and calling out to Jesus for protection. The noise grew louder and louder, until from my vantage point on the roof, I saw in slow motion the neighbors house completely collapse into a massive pile of rubble. I scrambled partway down the roof, and then jumped down the rest of the way as the ground shook and the surroundings turned dark gray with dust. Unsure of what to do next I punched in my Program Managers number into my cell phone. After talking to him for a moment, I realized that it wasn’t an earthquake that had occurred but rather the torrential rains that had caused the neighbor’s already structurally damaged home to collapse completely and caused our house to shake once again.
After hanging up, I carefully climbed over the wall separating our property with the neighbors house and yelled to see if anyone was around. Anoud followed me and from him I learned that no one was living in the actual house, but that there was a Haitian family who were caretakers of the place, living in an adjacent smaller building. I remembered hearing the generator running last night, so I knew that there was a good chance that someone was still living there! I went one way to circle the building and survey the ruins and Anoud went the opposite direction. As I reached the front of the building, or what was left of it, I heard Anoud yell out to me from the back. I ran over only to see him with a Haitian lady who was obviously in shock. She screamed as she pointed at the door of her living quarters that was blocked by over 6 feet of rubble. We began digging as fast as we could even as the rain continued to pour down! Four other Haitian men who had heard the noise and came to see if they could help joined us and together we continued to gradually move the bricks and debris away from the door. Soon more than a dozen men were working alongside me, all frantically pulling away the rubble. After almost 20 minutes we managed to clear it away, but to our disappointment we found that the door was jammed. One of the Haitians ran across the street to a jobsite to find an angle grinder so they could cut off the hinge to get the door open as I sprinted back over to my house to hook up an extension cord, and soon they were cutting away at the hinges. I went back over to check on the Haitian lady to see how she was doing when I heard cheers ring out by the gate. We both rushed to the front, and the lady let out a joyful cry when she saw her husband and young child standing by the gate! After talking with him, we learned that he had left several hours earlier to pick up his child from school, but when it began to rain, he stayed at the school to wait for the rain to let up. His wife was in the back of the property, taking wash off of the line when the house collapsed, and had thought that they had already returned. When the house collapsed and the rubble blocked their entrance way she was certain her husband and child were inside. How thankful she was to find out that they had waited out the rain at the school! Walking home exhausted and wet, I thanked God that He has graciously spared this family. I also wondered how many more structurally damaged homes would collapse and prayed silently for God to help the people of Haiti.


  1. As we read this story we again so clearly see the Lord's care and providence don't we? ... "waiting for the rain to stop at the school" ... "hanging out the clothes on the line" etc. Indeed, all things held in His Fatherly hands! Oh our foolishness not to recognize it more.

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