Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not a survivor

Each time I think that the horror of earthquake is over, something happens to bring it all back.

This week, while I was hauling rubble with my St Joseph's neighbors, Pierre asked if he could show me something. He led me down the hill behind St Joe's to a home whose fourth floor had pancaked, completely flattening the third floor. On the night of the earthquake, Pierre had been brave enough to climb through the rubble and inside the very unsteady structure to save the family. He managed to pull out the mother and her child, who she was clutching to her chest. He had to break the mother's foot to get her out, and by the time the bodies were free, they had both already died. Pierre tried again and again to rescue the father and his neice, who were also buried on the third floor, but the concrete was too solid.

The neice is hidden but we can see where the father, TiPiquant, is lying still. His hair hangs over the ledge and his blood stains the wall under his body. Someone has placed a baseball cap over his head, but if you climb high enough, you can see his entire body, decomposing rapidly in the heat. It has been three months since the earthquake and no one has tried to remove his body.

Will he stay there until he become dust? Or will a demolition team find his bones when they come to destroy the house this year or next? And the ever present question that haunts everyone of us: if another earthquake hits, how long will my body remain trapped before someone digs me out?

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