Living Serviam: Overcoming The Quake
We have seen the graphic and unsettling reports, photos and testaments streaming from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. On January 12, the earth shook and poorest country in the Western Hemisphere crumbled. Piles of dust, debris and even the remains of those lost now cover congested streets, once home to the poorest of the poor. Many lives were lost, and many continue to suffer. Despite fast acting relief efforts by the US, it is taking longer than expected to reach torn areas outside the city, where thousands of people lie waiting for help. Though it took only moments for their world to fall apart, it is clear now that the men, women and many children of Haiti are in for a long struggle.
When ABC News initially produced reports detailing the devastation, the network was only able to provide phone testaments from a few voices, a few brave Americans who just happened to be working in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas when the quake hit. Keziah Furth, an American nurse working in Haiti, sounded distressed but determined: "I'm trying to take care of them, trying to get them stabilized. But it's hard. I have very limited equipment." In her blog she admits that spending time on the phone felt like a waste of time, but that she knew it was essential to send out an S.O.S.
Keziah graduated from Ursuline Academy, Dedham in 2003, and from that moment dedicated her life to providing relief to those in need. After graduating from Northeastern University with a nursing degree she joined Angel Missions, ‘a God centered’ non-profit with an aim to provide medical care to distressed children in Haiti. In Ursuline’s spring edition of Serviam Magazine, Keziah shared details of her inspiring mission: “Life in Haiti is an adventure. I do things here that I never dreamed I would do: remove a bullet from a man’s back, find adoptive parents for a 14 year-old orphan, save a women’s foot from infection and amputation — hold a 2-year-old child as he dies."
Just days ago, Keziah and other aid workers were focused on helping the Haitian people to overcome hunger and sickness — to survive poverty. Now, their scope has widened and they are challenged to take on the devastation of a natural disaster, which has caused pain and suffering to not only the Haitian people, but also those volunteers, missionaries and medical professionals working in the area. Just hours after the earthquake hit, Keziah again spoke with ABC News, and described in detail the horrifying scene, “There were thousands of people in the street, everybody screaming and crying and praying along the side of the road.” She provided devastating details about crumbling structures, people trapped in cars at gas stations and fearful children.
Not once in her accounts did Keziah mention her own condition, or even complain about the unimaginable situation unfolding around her. It appeared as if she was solely focused on those around her who desperately needed help. Her selfless determination and courage is revealed in a quick email sent to her parents on the day following the quake: “I am back at my house right now, still have about 300 people camped out there that I am caring for...We're going to be OK though; it's just going to be tough for a while. No electricity, hard to get water, lots of the streets are blocked...I am fine, really and truly...Gotta go back to the injured people…”
And there she stays, with those who need her most.
To directly support the work of Keziah and the Angel Missions team, please visit their website: www.AngelMissionsHaiti.org
Updated:1/20/10Patrice HowardDirector of CommunicationsCommunications@ursulineacademy.net