Friday, 15 January 2010

sarla is saved

one of the blessings and curses of doing the work i do, is when disasters happen, i often know people who go to them. the earthquake in haiti had a different tilt. i had collegues who were there to work on HIV/AIDS stuff. i had learned in a meeting yesterday that they still had not been located. we knew they had been dropped off at the hotel shortly before the earthquake, but that was it. and we didn't know if all of them were at the hotel or just a few.

it was super scary to hear. i felt this way when the hotels were attacked in mumbai too. these are people doing what i do. the feeling of "i could have been there, that could have been me" hits.

plus these are amazing people. smart, compassionate, diligent.

then i start feeling really crummy because it takes actually knowing some people there to feel the magnitude of the loss and the pain that others are feeling. i think i purposefully avoid letting myself get in touch with the pain of these disasters. if i were to feel it all i would be rendered fetal in a ball of tears for days. it is just too much pain!

this morning, i woke up to an email from another colleague saying
Hi Everyone – Sarla Chand has survived and her picture is in the headlines of the NY Times email edition I just saw.
i just started crying. i think i had just not really let myself think about it much, but knowing that she was okay meant others were too.

i opened they NYT and saw this:

Sarlah Chand ,65, smiles as search and rescue workers tend to her after they rescued her from under the rubble of what is left of the Hotel Montana more than 50 hours after the massive earthquake destroyed the hotel January 14, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Planeloads of rescuers and relief supplies headed to Haiti as governments and aid agencies launched a massive relief operation after a powerful earthquake that may have killed thousands. Many buildings were reduced to rubble by the 7.0-strong quake on January 12.
(January 13, 2010 - Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images South America)

this is a link to video of her being saved

Search and rescue workers carry Sarlah Chand, 65, on a litter after they rescued her from under the rubble of what is left of the Hotel Montana more than 50 hours after the massive earthquake hit Port-au-Prince

i feel relief and gratitude. but i also feel so bad for those who don't get this type of news. and for those who get no news at all.

makes me think, once again, that we never know when we will die so we should live courageously now. say what we feel and share ourselves fully with others. it is human connections that makes life not only doable but joyful.

as a follow up to henry's first email about sarla i got this:

The others who were with Sarla: Rick Santos, Ann Varghese, Sam Dixon, Jim Gully and Clint Rabb are also ok. The were trapped in the lobby of the Hotel Montana and were rescued late last night. Praise God!

Praise God indeed!!! and may He be with those whose news is not so good and all those who have no news. the anxiety of not knowing is torturous! and as much as i love and respect my colleagues, i wasn't worried about my partner or parent or child . . . i really can't/don't want to comprehend that! but i send my compassion out to those that are having to feel that right now.

UPDATE (10:26)
i thought everyone at the hotel was rescued, but i just learned that one of my CDC colleagues has yet to be rescued. devastating.

1 comment:

HillTopStar said...

I'm glad your colleagues and friends are safe.

I remember feeling that same sense of panic during the aftermath of other disasters and it's not fun.

I hope they find your colleague that's still missing.