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Students offer new perspective on earthquake; say Haitians' faith is unshakable

By: Mary Rinzel Email
By: Mary Rinzel Email

The search for survivors is winding down in Haiti as aid continues to arrive. We talked to two students at UW-Eau Claire who were tossed to the ground in last week's earthquake. They both say it's hard for them to be home knowing how many Haitians need help.

Allison Lau and Susie Schuelke spent more than a week with 80 orphans about 40 miles west of Port-au-Prince. After the quake, they spent several nights sleeping outside; it’s where the kids continue to sleep.

Schuelke's video shows what's left of the school at Servants of All orphanage. Both she and Lau were on a second story floor when the earthquake started.

"I fell right to the ground and was rolling back and forth across the cement. There was a little girl with me so I grabbed her so she wouldn’t be rolling by herself," Schuelke says.

But after the shaking stopped, the girls say they saw no anger or even much panic. Susie's video shows the Haitians rejoicing; they praised God they were still alive.

"That first night of the earthquake we had what was on our backs. We spent the night in the courtyard. It was kind of hard just laying on the rocks," Schuelke says.

Eventually some of the older boys went inside and quickly grabbed mattresses and whatever blankets or sheets they could find in the unstable buildings.

Three days later, on their way to the airport, Schuelke and Lau drove through what was left of Port-au-Prince. They say their driver was careful to avoid the worst hit areas.

"It was really saddening to see buildings down and walls down and people walking with whatever they had on their backs. And then It was typical Haiti; people washing in dirty water, garbage everywhere," Lau tells us.

“The smell was really bad. We wore face masks. But, we both really feel God protected our eyes from seeing things we could've seen," Schuelke adds.

And then they were back, wishing they could go back. But, bringing with them an unshakable faith; a faith they have no doubt will be still standing when they return.

Both girls say they hope the help from wealthy countries like the U.S. doesn't fade in the coming weeks and months.


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