Thursday, 17 April 2014
'The shaking was only the beginning. When a massive earthquake devastated Haiti's capital city of Port-au-Prince, the staff at God's Littlest Angels orphanage knew their biggest challenges were still ahead. Their buildings had stood and the 152 children in their care were alive, but the future was uncertain and survival was by no means guaranteed. In this honest and heart-wrenching account of living through the struggles of the earthquake's aftermath, Melanie Wright Zeeb shares her own experiences as well as those of other staff members and adoptive families around the world. In Haiti, the staff faced shortages of food, water, medicine, and other supplies, and the fear of not being able to acquire more. The nerve-rattling aftershocks continued, adding to the stress of survival and the emotional and psychological trauma of living through a horrific natural disaster. Around the world, adoptive families waited anxiously and helplessly from afar, knowing that their children were in the middle of a disaster zone. For most of those families, their heartache transformed into unbelievable joy when their children were evacuated out of Haiti and into their arms. Beauty from Ashes is a story of suffering, pain, and loss, but also of hope, survival, and healing.'
Beauty From Ashes is written by my very good friend, Melanie Wright Zeeb. It is her account of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Drawing on eyewitness testimony from myself and from the board members, volunteers and adoptive families, who rallied on behalf of our children, the book avoids the tendency to romanticize the evacuation of Haiti's orphaned children as a fairy tale ending to a tragic episode in Haiti's history.
Read the story of Roselaure, a five month old from my nursery, who developed severe bacterial meningitis with a brain abscess the the day before we evacuated her and 80 other Children to Miami. She would never have survived, had the earthquake not set off the chain of events that it did.
Another chronically ill child, though, was denied entry to the united states. Due to a catalog of errors, it would be 3.5 years before that child would be allowed to leave Haiti.
Read the untold story of a dozen French families, who suffered unbearable anguish at the lack of advocacy for their children, who were finally evacuated over 11 months later.
Other families, whose children did make it out of Haiti were rocked by the unexpected trauma of parenting children profoundly hurt by events that occurred long before the earthquake.
Then, of course, there were the 300,000 people who died that day in January, 2012. Many of their bodies would never be found. Beauty from Ashes is not a fairytale, it is a true story, told with authenticity. It is available for pre-order on Amazon!
Posted by Susan Westwood at 05:48