Home > Our World > News > News Archives by Date > 2010 > January 2010 > News - January 2010
Haiti journal: Life goes on amid destruction

Visiting United Methodists enjoy fresh coconuts for lunch in Mellier, Haiti.
A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.

By Kathy L. Gilbert*
Jan. 26, 2010 | MELLIER, Haiti (UMNS)

A fresh coconut for lunch.

Post-earthquake Haiti is full of surprises. Like a beauty “salon” in a community living under sheets in a soccer field. Or a cactus fence that also makes a good clothesline. Women hurry across lanes of traffic to buy brooms so they can sweep at least a tiny portion of their city clean.

Three cows crowd into the back of a TepTep, Haiti’s version of a taxi. That, I couldn’t watch.

After people from this rural town outside of Port-au-Prince spent an hour talking about horrific conditions they are experiencing after the Jan. 12 earthquake, they served visitors all one large green coconut freshly peeled with a machete. After we drank all the milk, the hard fruit was cut in half (machete again) so we could scoop out the meat.

I have never done that before.

We invite you to join the dialogue. Share your comments.

Post a comment

People in Haiti are so nice and welcoming. The children especially love to crowd around strangers and giggle.

Another thing that keeps shocking me every day is the terrible destruction and the thousands of people who have no homes, jobs, schools or church buildings. Every time we turn a corner there is another building that has collapsed, cars crushed. Looking at those places, it crosses my mind that there are probably still bodies waiting to be found under the rubble.

On at least two occasions, I have seen a dead body on the street. One day I saw a man get hit hard by a car. He just got up and started running. I’m sure another time I was passing a building as a body was being recovered. I could tell by the smell.

But even with all that, church and life go on. In Mellier, one woman told us, “We are continuing all our activities just as before the earthquake. We have even added a few new members.”

This past Sunday at St. Martin Methodist Church in Port-au-Prince, two women came to worship and sat down next to the space where they had been trapped and where three of their friends died.

I wonder if I would have the courage to do that.

*Gilbert is a news writer for United Methodist News Service on assignment in Haiti.

News media contact: David Briggs or Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Related Video

Sunday worship in Haiti


Photos from team in Haiti

Related Articles

Haiti journal: Home is a field, but families remain families

Haiti journal: Encountering refugees, stories of loss

Blog: Question is not ‘why’ but ‘what’

Haiti Methodists offer ‘healing love’ to survivors

Haitian Methodists and UMCOR size up needs

Where Two or Three Are Gathered

Worship goes on beside damaged Haitian church

Earthquake in Haiti: The Church Responds


UMCOR: Haiti Emergency

Methodist Church in Haiti

New York Times reflection

Comments will be moderated. Please see our Comment Policy for more information.
Comment Policy

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.


*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW