You may be wondering what in the world Goudou (pronounced goo-doo) means. We recently found out that unofficial word for “earthquake” in Creole is “Goudou” because they say that’s what it sounded like. Most of you know that Haiti suffered a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake on January 12, 2010. At least 220,000 people died and 300,000+ were injured.
Though we weren’t here when it happened, it is always on our minds. Everywhere we go, we see rubble, people with multiple scars on their bodies, missing limbs, and tent camps where people who lost their homes in the earthquake live now.
Yesterday I was cleaning out our bedroom closet when I got what felt like a punch in the gut. I found bags and bags of medical supplies that were used during the earthquake relief effort – latex gloves, gauze, syringes, bandages, and other things. After the earthquake, the guesthouse was used to house many doctors and nurses who were helping the countless number of injured people here in Port-au-Prince, and these were their supplies. For some reason that really hit me hard, and it felt so close to home.
It still gets me that you can look at virtually anyone on the street or in the store or riding in a tap-tap and know that they have lived through the earthquake, seen horrendous devastation, and have their own story of survival. One of our workers at the guesthouse was telling us how after the earthquake, he slept in the street for nearly a month with thousands of other people. There were dead bodies everywhere, eventually being collected with dump-trucks or burned because they had nowhere to put them and disease was beginning to spread. I asked him how and what they ate immediately after the earthquake, and he said that there were still vendors on the side of the street (right along with the bodies) selling rice and beans and whatever else. Sounds awful, but that’s what they had to do to keep on living.
We have been learning a lot from the Haitian people, one main lesson being how to persevere during hard times. They have endured, suffered, and lost so much, yet continue on every day without complaint. Why, because they have to. And what good is complaining going to do anyone? Everyone is in the same boat.
I’ll end with a quote that one of my friends has on her refrigerator:
“Look for blessings that come from times of trial…The outpouring of God’s love through people around you, God’s provisions for your needs from places you never would have imagined and the hyper-sensitivity to what is truly important in this life. Those things do not come to us in times of peace and prosperity, do they?”