THE WORST THING WAS HEARING THE SCREAMS

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The worst thing was hearing the screams from the ruins, Siv Mika Engebretsen says. Her eyes fill up with tears with the thought. – And I feel so guilty for having left them. I have never felt more white than when I sat in that car on my way out of Port au Prince!  Siv Mika was in Haiti to work as a volunteer for Project Haiti when the earthquake hit. –My first thought was to throw myself under the desk, she says. She soon realized that she should get out as soon as possible. On her way out, she found the other Norwegian volunteer, Åse Midtveit, sitting in the school yard. Åse bled severely form a cut in the head after having been hit by an iron gate. They both got out on the street.  -We stood on the street and held each other’s hands for 15 hours. We barely dared to move, and were always ready to run in case the ground should open up beneath us. After-shock after after-shock hit the city. Around us, houses lay in ruins. We heard screams from the ruins. Jean Ricot [local representative] ran over to where the screams came from. When he came back, his eyes were completely wild. “I couldn’t get them out”, was all he said.  The first, massive earthquake hit during the afternoon. It turned hundreds of thousands of buildings into rubble. Because there were several after-shocks, people did not dare to stay inside the houses which were still standing. Siv Mika and Åse sat outside Petit Troll together with the neighbours and many of the families of Petit Troll students all through the night. The electrical supply was cut off, so port au Prance was covered in complete darkness.  -All over Port au Prince, people sat in the streets and sang. That created a very special feeling of community, Siv Mika says.

 

The day after, Siv Mika and Åse left for the Dominican Republic. There the organized the emergency supplies which Ingvill and Edwin Ceide were to bring across the border when they came. Sunday 17 January the ladies were back in Norway. here they were met by friends and family, a crisis psychologist and the media. One question is often repeated: “Are you going back?” And Siv Mika and Åse do not hesitate: -Yes, we are going back. We are not finished with Haiti!

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