"At times I think my coffee and tea addictions truly drive my artistic energy. It’s a small sacrifice for the greater good."

Writing Prompt: Haiti

Posted: 1/15/10 | Written by Jeannie | Labels: , ,

This prompt was tweeted to me by OddOneDesigns I do apologize if it is sad, but do we really need happy about the earthquake in Haiti yet? When OddOneDesigns tweeted it to me I immediately thought of children being separated from their mother and how they would have to instantly grow up. I hope you enjoy but also please help out Save the children through the banner below.

"Maman? Maman!! Where are you?" Emmanuel calls out frantically. He is only twelve. Never in his life has fear gripped him, until today. “Maman, please! Where are you?” He yells at the top of his lungs. The building in rubble: he stumbles over the fragments that used to be his home.

“Manny,” a girl’s voice rings forth from under rubble. “Manny, help me!”

“Mika? I can’t see you.” His eyes dart back and forth as he tries to listen for his sister’s voice. “Mika keep talking.”

“Manny, maman went to the store.” Emmanuel follows her voice to a pile of rubble. Looking up he notices the roof collapsed on top of their dining room.

“Mika are you okay? Are you hurt?” He says as he starts digging through the debris. Holding his breath as the dust from the concrete -- which he moved -- floated up, covering his skin in a thick white ash.

“Manny my leg hurts.” Emmanuel starts digging faster. He didn’t know what that meant. From the look of their home, he hoped that it was just pinned down. “Manny it hurts really bad.” She says and he knows at that moment it is more than just pinned. Her voice quivered which means she was trying really hard not to cry.

“Mika, listen to me.” He says in the best soothing brotherly voice he can. “Mika I’m almost to you. Be strong. Remember when we were playing football and you fell in the street?” Emmanuel pauses making sure she is listening. There was a sniffle; he was close to her.

“Yes,” she whimpers.

“You remembered how much you cried? And how much it hurt? What did I do to make you feel better?” He asks as his hands strain to move the chunks of fallen roof.

“You bought me ice cream.” She says after several moments of silence.

“Mika, if you’re brave and strong I will buy you ice cream for a month.” He promises as he starts to see the edges of the dining room table. He thinks to himself, ‘good girl, under the table that’s what they always tell us to do during an earthquake’.

“Promise?” her innocent voice ringing through the last few fragments which stand between her and her brother; a voice like a bird’s song on a clear, blue, spring day. Emmanuel forces the last few stones away as he reveals his six year old sister -- shivering with fear. She looks down to her foot which is under the rubble. “I didn’t get all the way under,” she says as her breaths grow shakier. He knows she is about to break into tears.

“It’s okay Mika. I’ll get you out.” He watches as she bites her lip and tears start making tracks on her ash covered face. Taking off his belt he wraps it around her leg. Watching American television reruns of ER – whether true or not – he didn’t want to move the stone and her loose blood. ER always tied something around a wound. Hands tremble, he pauses before moving the stone. ‘What if maman didn’t get to a safe place,’ he thought. Shaking his head he continues. There was no place for thoughts like that in his head right now. “Mika, I need you to look away,” Emmanuel moves to the large concrete fragment that is on her foot. “Don’t look back until I say. This might hurt but promise me you won’t look at me until I say. Yes?” Mika turns her head and closes her eyes tight as she nods yes. She screams as Emmanuel moves the stone. He was right to have the belt around her ankle. Her foot is limp, crushed, and raw. Quickly he removes his shirt and wraps it around the broken and bleeding flesh. Releasing the belt only for a moment, repositioning it, and then tightening it around his shirt: keeping it in place. “Mika, look at me.” Her brilliant brown eyes peered up to him -- eyes bloodshot with tears looking to him with the need to be reassured. “Mika we’ve got to get out of here. We need to find maman.” Mika nodded her head and tried to stand up. “No Mika, I don’t think you can walk. Here,” he offered his back to her, “wrap your arms around my neck I’ll carry you.”

This is the moment Emmanuel became a man, at twelve, his sister dangling precariously on his back while he traverses the ruins of a town. No boy should have to do this. To tell his sister to bury her eyes into his back as they pass bodies.
Feeling her tears run down as they continue through the devastation. Churches toppled over and spilling into the streets, roads littered with fragments of homes, lives thrown askew as he walks among a handful of the living. They walk in the same direction – hopefully in the direction of help. Emmanuel sees a woman on the side of the road, her hands in the air as she screams; her son at her knees, limp and lifeless. He walks on wondering if his maman is grieving for her children, or if she is already dead. A tear escapes his eye as he realizes he may never see his mother again.

Finally up ahead there is hope. A small medical clinic is taking names of the injured. Emmanuel’s pace quickens as he sees the line starting to grow. Maneuvering his way through the crowd he makes it to the front of the line quickly. There sits a man in a ball cap and polo shirt – despite his appearance Emmanuel sees the same worry and frustration that is on everyone’s face. “Name?”

“Emmanuel and Mika Jean-Baptiste”


“Twelve and six,” Emmanuel says as the man looks up from the sign in sheet. He didn’t realize how young they were.

“Emmanuel, where is your maman?” The man asks in a soft voice. Emmanuel stares over the man’s head, if he looks into his eyes he might break.

“I don’t know.”