Haiti: one year later
Shortly over a year ago, on January 12, 2010, Jessica Frick ’10 and her roommate, Yanica Faustin ’10 were driving to a friend’s pool in Haiti, when they heard what Frick described as a “loud rumbling noise,” followed by the shaking of the car. Moments later, Frick and Faustin were experiencing the major earthquake.
Having already completed their credits, Frick and Faustin had decided to use JanPlan as a time to take a vacation in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. They stayed with Faustin’s father, who owned a house there. Frick had read about Haiti before and said she had been expecting a “much different atmosphere than rural Maine.” She and Faustin had planned on having a regular vacation: going to the beach, sightseeing, and visiting with family, but the natural disaster dramatically altered their experience.
Soon after Frick and Faustin heard the rumbling noise, Frick saw a building collapse. Smoke filled the air. Blood was everywhere. All around, Haitians could be heard yelling “Jesus” in Creole and desperately searching for their loved ones.
Frick and Faustin were led to a safe spot. Frick said that, at the time, she felt “pretty emotionless, and if anything scared and pissed off.” All she could do was try to comfort her panicking friend and reassure her that everything would be ok. Frick and Faustin sat there until nighttime when finally Faustin’s father arrived to join them. Frick lay down on the blankets she had been given and tried to fall asleep by the light of the candles, but the night was far from calm. “Everyone was singing and crying and the ground was so uncomfortable,” she said. Every once in a while, the ground would rumble and further agitate the people’s fear.
Frick said the earthquake felt “so impersonal [that I felt] like [I] was in a documentary. I really separated my emotional thought process and went into survival mode and did whatever I could to regain control,” she said. Following the earthquake, Frick and Faustin lived in the backyard of Faustin’s house, where the family had been raising chickens. As a result of the tumultuous state of the town, men of the house had to stay awake at night and guard the family and its animals.
Because of the tragedy Frick experienced, she said her time in Haiti “impacted [her] entire life and [she] hope[s] to inspire others out there to remember Haiti and those who survived.”
Following their trip to Haiti, Frick and Faustin raised over $70,000 in donation money to give to Partners in Health to help Haiti.
In January 2011, Frick and Faustin began writing a blog titled “A Year Ago Today in Haiti.” The purpose of the blog is to “reproduce the journal entries we wrote on the same day in 2010,” Frick wrote in the first post on January 2. “We will give the readers a sense of what it was like for us in Haiti, before and after the earthquake.”
Frick is currently studying for her masters in social work at Boston College. Although her trip was now over a year ago, she says that her “vacation in Haiti [is] an experience [she] won’t ever forget.”
To access the blog, visit ayearagotodayinhaiti.wordpress.com.