On the Road with the Neediest Cases: The anniversary of Haiti's earthquake– Up close and personal
Each month, Alice Kenny, senior writer for Catholic Charities, shares stories from her experience interviewing Catholic Charities clients currently being considered for profiles in the New York Times Neediest Cases Campaign.
Jovins told me he feels lucky despite losing half his leg. The massive earthquake that struck Haiti just over a year ago tore a beam from his home, pinned him down and crushed his leg.
Yet he is alive, he says. More than 100,000 people, including family, friends and coworkers, died during that horror.
A stranger carried Jovins on his back to the nearest hospital. A volunteer brought Jovins back to Rockland County for emergency surgery. And a community inspired by Jovins’ optimism rallied around him.
I met Jovins when Martha Robles, executive director of Catholic Community Services of Rockland, suggested I interview him for the New York Times Neediest Cases campaign. She and Jovins told me about the priest who put up Jovins at the local Tagaste Monastery for a week. They talked about the anonymous professor who later gave him a rent-free apartment. And they told me about the food and furniture, the rides to the doctors and the immigration help Catholic Charities provided.
Yet Martha calls Jovins her “earth angel.” And after spending time with him, I understand why.
Living in New York, it’s hard to imagine Haiti’s story of endless loss, from earthquakes and floods to cholera and corruption. Jovins does not deny the tragedy that strangles his nation. Yet he remains invariably optimistic, determined to recover, to return to Haiti and to rebuild his homeland.
And now, like Martha and so many who have been inspired by him, I know I am lucky to know Jovins.
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