How I survived Haiti earthquake ?Nigeria returnee
?He left his office few hours before disaster; the block and occupants all perished
By TOSIN AJIRIRE
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Gasper Aisiene was born in Haiti on November 26, 1973. He was once a Spanish and Mathematics teacher. But today he is a diplomat and economist. And he told Saturday Sun that ?I came to Benin Republic for the African Renaissance Project because I am the representative of the programme in Haiti.
?I came with my family three years ago to defend my PhD thesis in International Diplomacy when I met Mr. Olofinji who asked me to represent him in Haiti.
He gave me the duty to establish a branch of his Pan African Organisation in my country and the whole of Caribbean Island, which I did. Right now, the organisation is functioning very well in Haiti. I have even brought one of our Senators to Benin Republic to visit Igbale Aiye city. The mayors and lawyers of Haiti were preparing to come to Igbale Aiye city before the earthquake struck.
Recalling the deadly earthquake that devastated his country on January 12, Gasper said ?I was in my car going to a meeting with all the Mayors of Haiti for a discussion on modalities related to their visit to Igbale Aiye, the African Renaissance City in Republic of Benin when the earthquake struck. I observed that it was as if the tyres of my car wanted to pull off so, I quickly stopped the car to check what went wrong. Then I saw people running helter-skelter and before I knew it I heard a deafening sound and I thought that was the end of the world. As I was running for my life, I saw people dying, children crying, wounded people calling for help and everybody was running for life. I even tried to rescue somebody who was injured, to take him to the hospital but I observed that there was no way to pass and nowhere to go. So, I quickly joined other survivors to provide first aid for the injured.?
His escape from being a victim of the quake is what he attributes to his love for Africa and he is thankful to God for his survival and that of his family members. ?I thank God, thank the African Renaissance Project also but for the project I would have been dead by now. I was on my way to the meeting with all the Mayors of Haiti on how to visit Igbale Aiye when the devastating earthquake shattered my country otherwise I would have been in my office and I would have been dead because the entire building that housed my office collapsed and I don?t know if any of the occupants survived. In fact, the Mayors also confirmed to me that but for the meeting, they would have been in their offices, which also had collapsed and killed people.
We are nine in my family; seven of them are in the United States. My wife and daughter were here in Republic of Benin when the earthquake struck. The earthquake did not reach my village, so I am the only one that experienced the incident and I thank God for sparing my life.
It took the government of Haiti three days to respond to the killer earthquake. It was after three days that we heard from the government because they were also affected. The Presidential Palace was badly hit, the National Assembly and ministries were not spared either. In fact, it was God who saved the life of the president when the earthquake hit the capital. He was not in his office. He went for the 50th anniversary of the Faculty of Law of the nation?s university and after the event had gone straight to his private residence.
Because of the level of destruction in Port-au-Prince, the government plans to relocate the capital to another place where rebuilding will take place; the international communities still contribute towards rebuilding the city and sustaining lives and rehabilitation of victims and orphaned kids in the past five months with the pains and scars still very much with the people. ?The entire world has been wonderful and supportive in all ramifications as nations and organisations donated and still donate relief materials; provide first aid and so on?, Aisiene said.
Aisiene has a different dimension in solving the Haiti earthquake problem and told Saturday Sun that: ?The desire of all Haitians is to come and resettle in Africa. Even President Wade of Senegal is proposing something along this line. Haitians prefer to come back and settle in Africa because here they feel at home and get brotherly love. Haitians are freer in Africa than in Haiti. In Haiti, the whites do not like the blacks. We feel more at home here in Africa than in America.?