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One year ago this morning millions of Haitians rose to greet the cool January sunshine. Twelve hours later as the sun dropped into the bay of Port au Prince, the city collapsed. In just 30 seconds, over 50 percent of the buildings in Haiti’s capital city were reduced to rubble.
Friday, Feb. 12, one month after the earthquake, the first day of Jounen jèn, the days of mourning and remembrance, and we walked through the twisted iron and dusty shards of glass of the shattered National Cathedral. It was as though the world had ended.
People have found an inner fortitude, a reserve of compassion and dedication that was released by the quake, a river of courage that spills from their hearts, and every day people traumatized by loss are engaging in extraordinary acts of kindness.
Reports of violence in Haiti are largely disinformation. For centuries Haiti has been portrayed as a dangerous country filled with volatile and threatening people, unsafe for foreigners. This supposition, this fear and misunderstanding, has very deep implications for foreign aid and cross-cultural understanding.
This musical tribute to the towering hero of Haiti, Father Gerard Jean-Juste - or Pe Jan Jis in Kreyol - who joined the ancestors May 27, 2009, is sung by Rosemond Jolissaint, the Haitian sensation who won Haiti's version of American Idol in 2007.