Nearly a year ago, January 12, 2010, at 4:53 p.m. Haiti time, indescribable horror descended on Port-au-Prince and the mountains south of Haiti. Estimates vary, but as many as 300,000 lives were lost, and more than 1.3 million were, in an instant, left without homes. Government buildings, including the iconic Presidential Palace, were destroyed.
The catastrophe followed a season with four tropical storms which devastated Haiti in 2008; and was succeeded by a Cholera outbreak still raging.
Haitians are an indomitably hopeful people, impossible to defeat. But the events of the past eleven months can seem almost insurmountable.
After the quake, on April 26, 2010, 35 individuals representing 25 organizations with long-term interest in assisting Haiti met in a Minneapolis church.
The sole purpose of the meeting was to begin to get to know each other.
Out of that initial event came a simple e-mail contact list. It was agreed to call the group Konbit-MN/Haiti, essentially, a group whose sole purpose is to keep the conversation going between groups of diverse interests. Konbit-MN/Haiti has no meetings, no bylaws, no dues, no fund raising. Some would say that means it has no purpose, either. Why “Konbit”? The Kreyol definition Here.
It is through the idea of one member, and the joint effort of a working group of a dozen members of the alliance, that an idea — Bells for Haiti — came forth for remembering in some significant way the one-year anniversary of the devastating Haiti earthquake, January 12, 2010.
“Bells for Haiti, January 12, 2011″ is now on the web.
The details as now known are on a Facebook events page, where individuals including you, the reader, are invited to not only indicate your attendance at this virtual event, but also to help make others aware of the event wherever they live. The guest list is beginning to build, and with your help it can build exponentially over the next 28 days.
The Konbit Committee realizes that not every gathering place has bells. There is room for virtual bells; there is room for 33* seconds of silence at church services and other gatherings in the days immediately preceding January 12, etc. Individual groups can plan their own activities to mark January 12.
But the essential idea is to call attention to an anniversary of an awful event in Haiti, and at the same time, enroll the entire community of humankind in working together for our mutual betterment as a world society that cares for each other.
You and/or your group are invited to join with Konbit-MN/Haiti wherever you live, whatever you do.
Make the 33 seconds on January 12 a personal call to action for yourself.
* – Estimates vary on the duration of the initial shock in the earthquake: 33 seconds is one estimate; 35-40 is another…whatever the actual duration, the devastation happened in hardly more than an instant.