Couple relieved after learning close friend is alive and well in earthquake-devastated Haiti

Harry Sullivan
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TRURO - A Haitian man that a retired Truro couple look upon almost like a son is alive and well in his earthquake-ravaged homeland.
"That's the best news I can tell you," said Betty Darby, who along with her husband Allen spent 17 years conducting missionary work in Haiti as United Church ministers.
The couple has spent countless hours since last Tuesday's massive quake trying to contact old friends. On Sunday they were rewarded with a much-awaited telephone call from a man they identify only as Jean-Marie.
The Darby's met the man as an 11-year-old boy when they first went to Haiti in 1971 and helped sponsor his education.
Of the 22 families with whom they most closely identify they have now learned the fates of all but a few.
And while most are accounted for, having survived the ordeal by experiencing property damage as opposed to physical harm, not all were so fortunate.
"There's one (friend) dead and the body recovered," Darby said. "And there's one dead and the body not recovered."
Knowing most of their friends did survive has brought some personal relief, she added, but also "anguish" for those they have not yet heard from.
"And anguish for the whole situation," of course."
Although the complete human toll from the quake is not yet known, correspondence they received via e-mail from Rev. Gesner Paul, president of the Methodist Church in Haiti, are staggering.
"A lot of people have lost their lives," he wrote. "The figures vary. Estimates run from 100,000-150,000 (according to the Haitian Prime Minister) to 400,000 (U.S. officials) deaths due to this earthquake. It will definitely take time to know the exact figures."
While some may question their religious faith following such tragedy, the Darby's believe such natural disasters are not the work of God but that his involvement comes after, through the deeds of those who try to help.
"God is right there in the mess and the suffering," Darby said. "And God acts through the people who care and who try to make a
difference."
And while some people become cynical about whether their financial contributions actually make it to their intended destination, the Darbys say such aid is certainly needed and does make a difference for those who do receive it, regardless of delays or other
complications.
"It's going to be a long haul," Allen Darby said.

hsullivan@trurodaily.com

Organizations: United Church, Methodist Church

Geographic location: Haiti, U.S.

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