While I was staying at in Galman du Plaa two weeks ago, I became good friends with a 25-year-old man named Herns (pronounced Hans). I don’t know exactly why we hit it off so well from the start, but part of it had to be that he spoke the best English out of everyone that I was around. In addition to English, his sense of humor meshed well with mine, which is always a solid connection for two guys in their twenties.

We spent many hours talking with each other about life, problems of Haiti, and attempting to teach the other languages. Both of us speak limited amounts of Spanish, so we would speak to each other in Spanish when neither of us could get our points across in Creole or English. Honestly I think my Spanish improved more than my Creole.

Fast forward a week to a growing town called Limonade (Lee-mo-nod). I am sitting in a rickety shed awaiting instruction on how to pass out medications when a young Haitian man came to assist me. His name is Kensey. He spoke decent English so we were able to converse. We exchanged the typical small talk, but we were cut short due to patients arriving for the clinic.

We saw many people in the clinic including the 103 year old woman who I wrote about in an earlier post. After the clinic was finished and the last patient walked away, Kensey and I began talking again about his life and ambitions.

Turns out he was in his fourth year of medical school when the earthquake happened. He lived in Port-au-Prince and was in the classroom when the earthquake began shaking all the structures around him. The room he was sitting in partially collapsed, and many of his friends that were in other rooms died in the quake. Now he is living with his parents in Cap-Haitien while he awaits news on what will happen with the school and his future.

By the tone of his voice, I could sense the concern he was dealing with due to the unknown that was on the horizon of his life. The school is collapsed. He has nowhere to live if he does go back to Port-au-Prince. Unless he finishes medical school, the last four years will seem like a waste since he will not have a degree with which to practice medicine. He was torn on what to do next and rightfully so in my opinion. He is dealing with lots of uncertainty in his mind.

Part way through the conversation, he started talking to me about his brother and how his goals had been altered by everything that has unfolded in their family as a result of the earthquake. I asked what his brother’s name was. Turns out his brother was Herns. I had no idea. They did not look alike at all.

I told him that I knew his brother and had become decent friends with him over the past few days. We ended up finding more family and friend connections that we shared. Some of which should have been obvious to me, but for some reason I was oblivious to the obvious.

Both of these brothers have tremendous skills, but neither of them will have the same life after the earthquake that they had before. Kensey sent me a message yesterday telling me that he is headed to Port-au-Prince now after getting word that his school would be resuming classes. Herns has a great vision for the country of Haiti, and I think he can do great works to improve the lives of many people.

These brothers share a common bond of wanting to help others, but the way they have chosen to put it into practice is through very different means. One wants to be a preacher and teacher, while the other would like to aid in the medical needs of people by becoming a doctor. At the end of the day though, both have a desire to put others before themselves and make a difference in the world they find themselves in. No matter what life may throw in their path.

Bryan Clifton

Oklahoma City, OK