Finding Courage Among Chaos in Haiti

I asked Dan Whu, another Miami-Dade medic, how a baby survives for so long without water and food, in 85-degree temperatures.

"You just gotta ask the man upstairs," he said.

I arrived at the Hotel Montana one day just after rescue workers pulled out Dan Woolley. The American filmmaker had been trapped in an elevator for 65 hours. He had been communicating with a Haitian man trapped in the elevator beside him.

And as rescue worker Carlos Carillo from Fairfax, Va., extracted him, Woolley said simply: "Get 'er done."

"Very lucky. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time when the wall collapsed," Carillo told me.

There are so many families -- Haitians and foreigners -- still missing. This morning Haiti's government said they would suspend search and rescue efforts. That is devastating news for those families that were clinging to hope.

"They belong to somebody. You know?" Lisa Birch told us the other day. "If nothing else, we just want them home. You know, we need to be able to say our good-byes and to touch their faces."

Her husband, Jim, arrived in Haiti on the day of the earthquake. He was helping scout locations for new sports facilities for Haitian children. That Tuesday night he was in the Hotel Montana.

Armchair Used as Makeshift Operating Table

In another part of town, I was able to locate the home of Maude Carnel Dorzil. She was buried alive in the quake. Her son Charles Dorzil was finally able to reach her by cell phone days later.

"She said, 'I'm under the house, I have two floors on top of me. And I can't feel my legs. And I'm hurt, I'm thirsty. Son, I'm dying,'" Charles told us.

By the time we found her house, it was a pile of rubble. Maude had been pulled out by neighbors, but she had a broken leg and they could find no medical help. A broken leg that's all. And she died.

We saw so much need. A courtyard-turned-clinic with an armchair for an operating table. They were using superglue to close wounds. They ran out of sutures.

Life froze when the quake hit. Flower vendors have stalls filled with bouquets that were there before the earthquake. They've only sold two funeral wreaths since that day.

And a blackboard at a kindergarten classroom in Leogane, Haiti, still reads: Tuesday June 12.

We returned several times to a camp in what used to be an open-air market near the hillside slum of Canape Vert, which means "green sofa" in English.

There was at least some progress. By early this week, they had received a huge tank of fresh water, the size of half a tennis court. And Jean, whose eyes had been swollen shut the first time we met him, could now see me.

Children were running around, drumming, growing bored.

"I want to go back to school," one little girl said.

A full week after the quake hit, a young woman asked if we could help her reach her parents in the U.S.

I dialed the number and reached her father's answering machine in Brooklyn.

"I'm here. I'm not dead," she said into the phone.

It's utterly striking how much people have pulled together in the wake of such tragedy. Neighbors are feeding neighbors. Their perseverance is astounding.

Hope and Perseverance Surface After Earthquake

"These are beautiful people. And if there's ever been any controversy about what the people in Haiti are like, erase it from your mind. They are strong. They are kind. They are beautiful," said Michelle Sare, a nurse from Montana.

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