Haiti, One Year Later: Rescue Regrets

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By: Vibe / January 14, 2011

VIBE’s Editor-At-Large Erik Parker flew to Haiti in 2010 to investigate restaveks, unaware that he would return a survivor of the country’s worst natural disaster. In our April/May 2010 issue, Parker sifted through the rubble in an eye-opening escape story. Now one year later he candidly shares his three greatest regrets.


REGRET #1

I always get an unsettling feeling when I watch the below rescue video, taken moments after the earthquake with my iPhone. For starter, there’s this line: “Hold this just in case I don’t live through this shit.” How melodramatic. What was I thinking?

I intended to say something there as a joke of sorts. Maybe I wanted to be kinda funny, or clever, in some way to take the sting out of things. But even deeper, I am embarrassed because it wasn’t much of a joke and it wasn’t clever at all. Turns out, it was just what I was really feeling in my gut. As I prepared to rush into that sagging building, my wife and my family came to mind. It was only moments after the quake and we were all running around on shaky ground—aftershocks began tormenting immediately. Another quake could come and flatten what was left standing. So, the idea of running into that Jenga pile of blocks appeared to me like a real live game of Frogger.

So, I thought, with a degree of reason, I should say something just in case things go horribly wrong for me. But, wait. Don’t be too serious. Be real. Profound, maybe. With these directions shooting around in my head, I opened my mouth and that embarrassing line fell out. But if I had it to do all over, with that hanging slab of concrete as a warning sign of the potential falling to come, I’d probably say the same thing, “just in case, I don’t live through this shit.”