Haiti Earthquake: The Power of Sisterhood
Guest post by Nathalie Tancrede
The Morning of the Haiti Earthquake
On Saturday, August 14, 2021, while drinking coffee and scrolling through Facebook, I noticed a few alarming posts about an earthquake in Haiti.
I immediately posted on my page, asking for confirmation.
Within minutes, my DMs & WhatsApp messages were blowing up. Friends and family members were reaching out, recounting the horrible moment.
I sat there in shock, reading the messages, watching the videos, checking the photos coming in at a rapid pace.
My oldest daughter, Kayla, heard snippets of my phone conversations and asked what was going on. So, we watched the online news together, heartbroken by the harsh reality of the situation. Haiti has gone through so much already. Why this!?
We wondered about the extent of the damage, the resources available to provide immediate help. We thought about those still stuck under the rubble and prayed someone would find them, alive. Our emotions were all over the place: shock, sadness, disbelief, worry…
I began to share updates on my social media pages, listing trusted organizations and reposting info from various sources to keep everyone in the loop.
Sleep eluded me as I stayed up late checking for updates, feeling compelled to keep abreast of it all.
As the days went by, the requests for help kept pouring in. Each story, more devastating than the previous one. People needed help; they needed tarps, tents, food, clean water, basic supplies. Many were left homeless, the clothes on their back, their sole possession.
A few friends and I began brainstorming about the best way to offer support.
Making the Tragedy Human
Then on August 17, I received a video from a contact in Jeremie. The footage came from an artisan in the area who noticed the victim’s wound while walking around.
Though not her personal friend, she wanted to assist her in finding help.
The video recounted the ordeal of an older victim of the earthquake. She was seeking assistance as her family had lost it all. She wounded her head and her leg while running to escape the sudden shaking.
The leg was swollen, poorly bandaged and she had no pain medication.
Roselene Dorsa is a mom of 8. She lives in the Abricots area—a commune of Jeremie—with her husband, three of her children, and three grandchildren. Prior to the earthquake, Roselene did housekeeping work in the city to provide for her family.
With over 50% of the area either damaged or destroyed, her chances of returning to work or finding a new job are slim. Yet, there are mouths to feed, including her grandbabies.
I watched her video several times, listening to her recounting the ordeal, noticing her surroundings, and my heart broke for her and her family.
The Power of Sisterhood
As a mom, the well-being of my family is my priority. It gives me joy to see my children happy, to provide for their needs and to know they have all they need.
Roselene and hundreds of moms in Southern Haiti right now are not even able to provide for themselves, let alone their children. The earthquake devastated their neighborhoods, destroyed their homes, took away their jobs, and left them wounded physically and mentally.
As caretakers, we provide comfort and relief when others are in pain. We nurture our loved ones.
Quite often, we forgo our own needs to make sure everyone else is taken care of.
Though there is pain in this story, I choose to focus on what struck me the most: the power of sisterhood. The woman who shared the footage is dealing with her own challenges. Her home was damaged during the earthquake, and her own children have pressing needs. Yet, her spirit rose above it, and she reached to advocate for a sister in need. She saw an urgent need and took action.
My hope is that sisters around the world will rally and help lighten the load of Roselene and the victims of this terrible disaster. Though we may come from various backgrounds & countries, we are all women. We are sisters. We know the pain of our fellow sisters. Together, we can ease that pain and bring back their smiles.
How You Can Help
If you’d like to assist in any way, please let me know. With the help of a small team, I am providing direct help to selected families. Many belong to an artisan community with whom I’ve collaborated for the last ten years. Please send me a DM if you’d like to help in any way.
If you would like to assist trusted local organizations that are currently providing immediate relief, please consider a donation to PSA (Project Ste Anne), ACT (Ayiti Community Trust), or Fleur de Vie.
This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Nathalie Tancrede, Founder, Artisans Network, small business coach, and cultural ambassador to Haiti.