The following is taken from chapter 9 of AWAKE, releasing 7 days from today. It tells the story of my time in Haiti just after the earthquake.
“On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake wreaked havoc on Haiti. From the moment we heard about the quake, Megan and I spent most of our time trying to find out if our friends were OK. We also were desperate to get there and see if we could help in any way. No commercial flights were landing in Port-au-Prince so we decided to drive to Haiti. We had yet to hear anything from most of our friends there, though I had heard some great news just six days after the earthquake. My friend Jean Marc sent me this e-mail:”
“Dear Joel, God saved our lives miraculously. My house fell on top of my family, but they were all saved. I have lost everything. I have saved only what I was wearing. Thanks to God! Keep praying for us. I lost several members of my extended family, a lot of members from our church, and tons of friends. God is good. —Jean Marc”
“Megan had received a few e-mails that were not as encouraging. At the time, she was working with World Hope International (WHI), which supports over 48,000 orphans and vulnerable children, as well as cares for thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS in Haiti. Hundreds of orphans were missing and feared dead. There were no words to speak at a time like this. I planned on spending the next couple of weeks documenting the work WHI was doing and telling the story of what happened. Megan would be assessing the situation and planning the best way forward with WHI’s Haitian leadership.”
“We were flying to Haiti because it was the only place in the world Megan wanted to be. From the moment the earthquake struck, she was desperate to head there and do what she does best—fight for justice.”
“The Dominican Republic/Haitian border was insane. Thousands of refugees were trying to get out of Haiti as hundreds of relief workers and foreign military personnel were trying to get in. When we arrived, we met up with Larousse, one of World Hope International’s Haitian staff members. He was waiting for us at the border and was going to drive us into Port-au-Prince. We never handed over our passports or talked to an official. We simply flashed our USAID badges, and that was enough to allow us to drive through the chaos and into the country…”