Friday, April 8, 2011
Their life changed at 4:35 pm, January 12, 2010. Their hard work, accomplishments, and sunshine disappearing into a cloud of dust. The mementos of their lives spent together, for better and for worse, crumbled into a thousand pieces in a matter of minutes. Only a small ray of sunshine was left- their youngest daughter.
Not only did the Maxine family lose every single one of their material possessions, they lost their two eldest daughters, 12 and 10. A happy family of five turned to a family of three within seconds. The youngest instantly became an only child. Their smiles immediately erased. Their lives changed forever.
What was turning out to be a normal afternoon in Port au Prince ended in tragedy. Father Alabre Maxine had just closed his store for the night, and was headed home. Mother Maxine was out fetching water from the well while two oldest daughters where inside studying- one in the dining room, the other in her bedroom. Youngest daughter was playing in the yard, waiting for Mother to come back with the water to cook dinner and bathe.
Then the ground split open. The family store crumbled to pieces. The house pancaked to the ground. The three children were lost, buried under the rubble. When the ground stopped shaking, they ran. Home. Mr. and Mrs. Maxine were distraught. They screamed out their daughters' names. They clawed at the heavy cement, hoping to hear them. Hoping to see them- catch a glimpse of their long, dark hair. Their pale, beautiful skin. Silence.
They dug and clawed all night. Through the darkness they blindly clung to any glimmer of hope and chance, but they faded as the sun rose. Then they heard a voice. A mouse's cry of salvation under the rubble. In a space no larger than a bucket, their glimmer of sunshine announced her life. She squeezed out of her grave by the grace of God physically unharmed. Her sixth year will be followed by a seventh. They lost everything but one, tiny ray of sunshine.
But now they struggle, still trying to climb out of the ruins of their life. For the past year, Alabre Maxine, his wife, and his only daughter have been sleeping on the floor of kind souls' homes. They left Port au Prince in hopes of starting over in Les Cayes. They can never return to Port au Prince- the thought of it causes the child to panic and cry. She is petrified of Port au Prince, the city that stole her sisters. He tries to find a job, she tries to find a place to stay for the night. Their comfortable life gone. They have been reduced to homeless beggars.
They need assistance. They need support. They need something to get them on their feet again. A new ray of sunshine. Something to help them as they heal and attempt to start over as a family of three. Formerly a family of five.