Source: Tonic - More than two weeks after the world was shaken by the earthquake in Haiti, inspiring stories are rising up from the rubble. Stories of people pulling together. Stories of survival. Stories of everyday people raising money, and delivering hope. In the words of Haiti Lumiere de Demain founder Louis Elneus, "It is wonderful to see so much good in the world."
When Regine Zamor landed in Haiti on Thursday afternoon, January 14 — less than two days after the worst earthquake in 200 years rocked the tiny island nation — she was shocked by the devastation she saw in her beloved homeland. Men, women, children and babies were trapped in buildings and homes that had crumbled into the streets, yelling for help and hoping someone would hear them. Mothers did their best to comfort crying children as tremors rocked the earth there once more. Food and water were scarce. The power was out, and there was no way to phone anyone at that moment.
But what Zamor also saw that day, and in the weeks since, was the indomitable spirit of the Haitian people, who she says are doing everything they can to rebuild their broken country. "You see people everywhere trying to help each other out," says Zamor, a 29-year-old Haitian-American from Brooklyn, who jetted to Haiti to do whatever she can to help people get food, water and medical treatment — just because she wanted to help.
"I saw people pulling their neighbors out of the rubble," she tells Tonic via phone from Haiti. "It was the Haitian community that did that. A principal told me that he and the community pulled their students out of their own school, Lycee Carrefour Feuilles. People are banding together. People are not crying. They are calm. They are loving. They are carrying on. Wounded or not, they are working around the clock to have a decent, dignified life."
In the weeks since that fateful day, Louis Elneus has received scores of calls and emails from people wanting to donate funds and volunteer with his Haitian-based children's charity, Haiti Lumiere de Demain, which is donating solar-powered flashlights to earthquake victims and plans to plant trees on the now-barren Haitian landscape.
Like so many others, he is grieving for Haiti. More than 150,000 people have been reported dead and thousands of others are believed to be trapped inside the rubble. But what has given him, Zamor and others hope is the unbelievable outpouring of support from people from all over the world — including Tonic readers — who rallied to help the people of Haiti in the days and weeks since the quake rocked the impoverished nation. "I am humbled and honored that people opened up their hearts to literally receive Haiti in its arms," he says.
In Tonic's Jan. 13 story on the Haiti earthquake, Elneus had said, "I believe this is God's way of saying to the world, 'I want to see your humanity.'" After seeing the unbelievable support for Haiti ever since, Elneus says, "People answered God's call. God is now saying, ‘You have shown me your humanity.' Now he's asking the leaders in Haiti, 'What are you going to do with all you've been given? Are you going to do nothing or are you going to make Haiti a more hopeful place for its children? There's no reason to have so much suffering there...'" Read more stories of Hope at Tonic