Like a carpenter trying to build a house with only a screwdriver, I felt ill-equipped to do my job in Haiti. We correspondents use words and pictures as our tools. Yet, there were no words to adequately describe the horror. And the hours of video shot could never convey the scope of the catastrophe. We used the latest technologies to transmit information, but until the heavy scent death can be broadcast, the calamity and heartache can never be fully understood.
Interesting, then, that I left my assignment in Haiti with an optimistic feeling. Not necessarily about the country which has been victimized for centuries by one selfish government after another, but about the people.
The many Haitians I met taught me about dignity, faith and hope. They gathered together in their ramshackle homeless communities and cared for one another. Hungry, tired and thirsty, they waited and prayed for help to arrive. Children who'd lost multiple limbs and family members told me they were just happy to be alive. Young men in the streets, eager to play a part in rebuilding, asked for jobs not handouts. On Sunday, they gathered outside their crumbled churches to worship together.
There are bad elements in all societies, even our own. The few instances of violence and looting, to which much of the media's attention was paid, were isolated and not representative of the whole population.
The TV cameras have begun to turn their focus away from Haiti. (An unfortunate reality in the TV "business.") But for the time the world was watching, I hope it noticed the people's grace under pressure. On the day I left, a young girl died because there was not enough available blood for a simple transfusion. Meanwhile, a few feet away, twins were born. A metaphor, I thought, for the promise that life goes on in Haiti with a prayer for better days ahead.