Last Saturday night, (exactly one week ago) I sat down to watch a documentary about Irish history. I had downloaded it onto my cell phone from a Lousiaiana library. I had the sound playing through a blue tooth speaker. My phone was on the small metal table in my room. I sat on a metal folding chair. On the other side of my bedroom door, the children were playing. At some point, something weird happened. I felt like the room moved. I thought to myself, "was that an earthquake?" There was no discernable difference in the sounds coming from the other side of the door, and surely if it were an earthquake I assumed there would have been a change in sounds coming from the children. I came up with what seemed like logical explanations. Maybe a mouse ran into the chair and that caused the chair to vibrate. Or maybe it was just the sound waves and the metal table and since this was the first time I watched a video on my phone with my phone on the metal table at the time that seemed at least as likely an earthquake.
When the video was finished, I browsed through my facebook feed to see posts from people in groups for foreigners living in Haiti asking each other if they had felt tremors. Oh, so I had not imagined anything, and a mouse did not run into my chair and it had nothing to do with sound waves and metal tables after all. There had been an earthquake. I went to talk to the staff. The ones I spoke with first, had not felt it. Then I went into the programming room, where two of the older boys were sitting with a weekend supervisor; of the 66 children, only two had felt it. By the time I went to bed, there was a little information available on the internet stating that there had been an Earthquake in Port de Paix, which is in the north. When I went to bed, there was not yet any news of injury or specific destruction. I asked Google about news in Haiti, and nothing came up. I concluded that it must not have been bad, and thought maybe the lack of details was an indication that there had been no real damage.
The next morning, I checked online again before going to the early mass. The earthquake had occurred in Port de Paix. At least 11 people had died and many others were injured. There was mention of fallen or damaged buildings including a church and a hospital. I was saddened to hear that there was loss of life and at the same time grateful that it had not been worse.
At the end of mass during the announcements, which since there is no church bulletin sometimes take a long time, the priest said that there had been an earthquake. He said that there was havoc in Cap-Haitian in the north. Then he proceeded to say that a Catholic church had fallen down; in either Plaisance or Pilate; he was not sure where. While the actual tremor itself had not shaken me the night before, the priest's words certainly did. I asked the women sitting near me if she knew which church had fallen, and she replied kindly, yet, dismissively "one in the north," possibly she assumed I was asking because I had not understood, but I was asking because I did understand the difference between Pilate and Plaisance. The church in Plaisance is where you turn to get on the road that leads to Pilate. I know someone whose family lives very near that church. Anyone who has been following my blog knows of my experiences in Pilate.
When I got back to BLB, I tried to get information. Cap-Haitian was not really damaged, although certainly, people there would have really felt it since they were much closer; it would have been too strong there to blame a mouse. The church that had fallen, (one online news station said that the facade of it had fallen), was in Plaisance, which is actually in the diocese of Cap-Haitian, though a distance from the city. My thinking is that the priest may not know the northern part of Haiti very well and for that reason said Cap-Haitian instead of Port de Paix. I can understand him confusing Plaisance with Pilate since they both start with "P," and are close together. I was relieved and grateful to learn that all of the sisters and people I know in Cap-Haitian were fine during the earthquake. Apparently, the sisters there had a meeting last weekend and the shaking ground did not even deter their meetings.
Thank you, to everyone who checked in on me; I appreciate your support.
Let us all pray for all of those who lost loved ones and homes due to the earthquake last week.