• Item ID:WBSP
  • ISBN13: 978-1-60265-032-9
  • 176 pp.
  • 0.47lb
  • Form: Paperback, Trade paperback (US)
  • Price: $14.95
  • Promotion:

Walking in Broken Shoes

A Nurse's Story of Haiti and the Earthquake

Content Sample

By the time we reached the guesthouse, two women from our team had already gotten there and occupied both bathrooms; they were purposely first in the line of 21 others to take their farewell "Haitian bath," consisting of water in a plastic bin, a pitcher to direct the water to the spot needing to become wet or rinsed, and a musty towel. Primitive and inadequate as it may sound, all of this was a great source of refreshment after working and sweating in the dusty heat of Haiti all day. It was around 4:45 PM and Brian and I were starting to organize our 46 suitcases to be readied for our return flight home. We were chatting while walking in and out of the house. We were carrying the beat-up, broken suitcases, which were not worth the hassle of bringing home, outside to the patio; inside we were lining up the suitcases that were in good enough condition to accompany us back to Chicago. At that moment, exactly 4:53 PM Haitian time, there was a huge, huge, huge sound which had the magnified quality of multiple fast, rumbling trains overhead (a familiar sound in Chicago from the infamous "El" traveling quickly on the elevated tracks that run over the city). That sound developed from nowhere, while simultaneously all of the floors and walls of the house severely shook and shifted, giving me the impression in my split-second assessment that everything around me was going to explode.

I shouted with the full strength of my voice while running up the stairs, pounding on the doors to the girls in the bathrooms to "Get out, get out!! The house is exploding!" I ran downstairs and out to the front yard, thinking that I was just in time to watch the whole dwelling collapse, frantic that my friends were not yet out of the bathrooms. The trees in the yard were rhythmically swaying back and forth, branches touching ground with each shift, as if 150-mile-an-hour winds in a hurricane or tornado were causing the bend of the branches. There was no wind. The sky could not have been bluer. There was no rain. The deafening noise was persisting, the house was moving back and forth, the girls were not coming out! I ran back in, screaming, screaming again for them to "GET OOOUUUT!! PLEEEASE! The house is EXPLOOOOOODING!!" Brian also ran around the house trying to figure out what was exploding. Was it the cisterns on the roof, or the propane tanks? Had a truck or airplane exploded or crashed? What could he find to prevent the roof from collapsing? But the excruciatingly loud noise and confusingly persistent rumbling, shaking, and shifting persisted for almost a minute-much, much longer than any explosion or crash would have continued.

Finally, the slow-motion-like minute came to a sudden halt.