Quake victims remembered here

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, January 20, 2010

SELMA — For two days last week Jonas Sainvil did not know if his family was alive. He did not know if the family home still existed.

All Mr. Sainvil know was an earthquake had hit his hometown of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The event has been determined as one of the worst earthquakes in history: an estimated 200,000 dead, 250,000 injured and 1.5 million homeless.

“I was going crazy,” he said. “I had not heard from them in two days.”

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Mr. Sainvil spoke with his mother last week. Everyone is alive. The house is gone.

“They are living in the street,” he said, adding that he wants to see if he can move his family from Port-au-Prince, away from the crowds.

Mr. Sainvil was one of a handful of people who gathered at Songs of Selma Park Tuesday night to light candles and pray for victims of the earthquake.

There is another tie.

Pastor Gary Crum explained the church, Ellwood Community Church, is part of an effort to maintain a school about 30 miles south of Port-au-Prince with All of the Children of Children, based in Haiti and Sarasota, Fla.

The initiative began, he said, several years ago while he was principal at a county school, children sent 4,000 bottles of water to Haiti after Hurricane Ivan. Earlier, members of the church had sent children in rural Haiti Christmas presents — 400 pounds.

“Our hearts have been tremendously impacted by the tragedy because we have a long relationship with the people of Haiti,” he said.

Holding a single white candle, Mr. Crum showed a photo album with pictures of children holding toys. A sign in the background held by one of the children read, “Thank you Ellwood Church.”

Mr. Crum and the little group bowed their heads in prayer. The pastor asked for deliverance for the people of Haiti and for their safekeeping.

He looked up.

“Our hearts are just touched,” he said. “There is a connection.”