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On my way home from Haiti

February 2nd, 2010
05:48 PM ET
CNN cameraman Neil Hallsworth and Vladimir Duthiers
CNN cameraman Neil Hallsworth and Vladimir Duthiers

By Vladimir Duthiers

I am on my way home now.

As I prepare to leave Haiti, my mind drifts to the people I've met:

Bea, the young girl pulled from the rubble hours after my arrival. Monley, the five year-old boy rescued after eight days trapped under his home with his dead father at his side. The overworked and haggard but inspired doctors and nurses who worked on him long after his release.

The hundreds of international volunteers and rescue teams led by heroes like Pat Rohaley of the LA County Fire Department. I think of the  things I have experienced, seen, heard and felt. Hope when I heard a cry and a faint banging in a collapsed daycare, and helplessness after telling a young mother that the search for her child was being called off even as she looked to her faith for deliverance. I've seen homes pancaked and bodies by the hundreds, and I've seen Haitian men, women and children pitch in with whatever meager tools they have to dig out neighbors and strangers alike.

I've heard the screams of terror and the pitiful cries to God in the wake of bone rattling aftershocks and I've heard joyful singing and jubilant bongos in praise of Him. And it was in those moments that the tragedy of the earthquake became visceral.

The defiance of Haitian people in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, the shaking of their fists in the face of suffering. Their homes destroyed, their families decimated, they still rage against the dying of the light.

This country, born of the blood of slaves against the superpower of the 19th century, and tempered by years of turmoil and political upheaval, will go on. Not because they are resilient but because they must.

Winston Churchill once said, "We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival." Haitians have known that since 1804. They are survivors and they will survive together. After all, it's an ideal emblazoned on their flag: "le union fait la force."

To chronicle all of Vlad's updates from Haiti click here.

Filed under:  1 • Haiti
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Pat Tibbs

    Your post inspires me to keep on keepin' on. We all must work hard to keep Haiti on the front burner for the world. We must do whatever it takes to help this valiant country heal and come back better than ever.

    Thank you for your hard work on this story & I encourage you to work within CNN to keep this story on the radar screen until Haiti is whole again.

    February 2, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  2. Fernando F.

    (Amanpour tweet me about his article)

    Anderson Cooper... be very nervous... Vladimir might surpass you in reporting very soon....

    Vladimir: your way with words is outstanding. Can't wait for the day were CNN will give you more missions were you can show the quality of your reporting or even your 1 hour show.... hopefully it won't take CNN 10 years to realize the quality in reporting that you have.

    February 2, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  3. Erika

    Thanks for your final thoughts on what was undoubtedly one of the most challenging three weeks that you've experienced. Our hearts and prayers will remain with the people of Haiti.

    February 2, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  4. Danielle

    What an amazing 3 weeks of reporting – thank you for bringing so many of the names and faces of the Haitian people into our lives. My heartfelt admiration goes out to the hundreds, if not thousands of rescue workers on the ground, and the journalists who were brave enough to tell their stories as well. I hope we will not forget about Haiti, and that all the money that has been raised in good faith will be put to work to help rebuild what was once a beautify and prosperous country.

    February 2, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  5. Liz

    A moving coda for all of your work. I have been following your blog for the past two weeks and have enjoyed hearing the personal stories you have shared. Kudos for the excellent coverage and fitting tribute to the story of Haiti.

    February 2, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  6. Bev-New Jersey

    Nightly we watched CNN, Anderson Cooper and his staff as they showed the after effects of the earthquake in Haiti. In addition, we followed the blog of Vlad Duthiers as he seem to personalize the plight and courage of the Haitian's, and the incredible volunteers from various countries around the world. At times it was extremely difficult to watch what was happening while we were comfortable back in the USA. Why watch reality shows such as Lost, when true life scenarios are vastly more compelling. CNN and the staff did an excellent job reporting each day as they not only were on the scene, they were deeply involved. I applaud all their efforts and am glad all returned home safely.

    February 3, 2010 at 12:54 am | Reply
  7. Chris O'Neil

    You and your colleagues have been they eyes, ears and witnesses to a great human tragedy. You have showed us the worst of what can happen to people and the best of what tragedy can bring out in people.

    February 3, 2010 at 2:43 am | Reply
  8. Nadia

    I am glad and quite moved, that you have managed to portray the Haitian spirit with words and images, enduring not because it can but because it must.

    February 3, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  9. Patrick Currier

    Excellent reporting and blogging from Haiti Vlad. It is obvious that CNN should be proud to have you covering this tragedy. It must have been been extremely difficult witnessing this in person and thanks to CNN for providing great coverage.

    February 3, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  10. Bob

    I commend you on your reports, last time we talked was almost one year ago today, glad your coming home safe and sound.
    I read your posts and can only imagine what it was like to be there with all the death and destruction. Keep up the good work.

    February 3, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Reply
  11. Dave

    I saw many TV news reports from Haiti these past few weeks, but nothing really moved me as much as Vlad's writing about it. Thanks, Vlad, and keep up the good work.

    February 3, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  12. thyme

    since the earthquake hit, we have included the people of Haiti and their suffering and loss, as well as the people struggling to bring aid and recovery, in our prayers at meals and bed time daily (at-a-minimum). we will continue to do this for quite a long time yet. i've tried to explain as much as i felt was appropriate and allow my children to see some of the images. i only hope the money we have given and the emails and "votes" regarding Haitian debt and restructuring that have been sent will somehow carry (the people) through. thank you media, journalists, CNN, Amanpour, Vlad for being our eyes and ears when we can't be there, as well as our heart's extension back to our brothers and sisters there.

    February 4, 2010 at 4:48 am | Reply
  13. Fritzi

    You being in Haiti made brought the storyso much closer to home – with all the deaths and destruction. At the same time, I felt relieved because I knew you were going to make a difference. I commend you on your incredible work and am glad to hear you're back safe and sound.

    February 4, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  14. Paula

    Watching you and reading your blog made this tragedy more real. You showed tremendous courage in what must have felt like hell on earth. It was especially encouraging to see the stories that showed the strength of the Haitian people. I hope people will remember this and continue to support the relief effort.

    February 5, 2010 at 2:56 am | Reply
  15. Robb H.

    Good work...get home safe.

    February 9, 2010 at 4:54 am | Reply
  16. Alejandro Menchola Sipion

    Vladimir as a young person and as a professional be in Haiti after an earthquake you already lived a magnificient experience, but at the same time I admired you every time that I see your pictures and read the comments the magnitud of the natural disaster, I know what you are beeen trough I am a retired military and a journalist, I been in a disaster earthquake in my country now in my old age I love to write and definitely I congratulated you the way you express yourself in your comments you put all your feeling, and transparency the person who read your comments can be transported. I just want to say congratulation and you will be great.

    February 25, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Reply

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