by Kira McConnell

Nature has no mercy. Nature does not care how much a country has struggled and overcome. She does not take into account good people or bad. She strikes at any given moment. Nature is forceful, it is overcoming and mankind cannot trick or fight it.

Haiti is no exception, a place so rich in life, yet struggling so much. With people so strong, yelling a chorus of survival. Her name was Gigi. She was like many other young girls her age in Haiti, happy and full of life. She helped out her family when she returned home from school. Gigi took care of her four younger siblings while her mother was out working or busy cooking food for the family. Her father worked in Port-Au-Prince. He left home before dawn and returned after twilight. Gigiís father was the hardest working man she had ever known. Her family was not poor. She had never gone to bed without a meal, unlike some of the kids she went to school with. Sometimes there was less food to go around but she had never experienced true hunger.

Gigiís school was one of the better ones in the city. She knew she was lucky, she also knew that schools in Haiti were not like those in other countries. She knew that she was happy. At least, that was until the earthquake. Gigi was in class using her blackboard to solve a math equation. The quakes were tumultuous. The force from the movement threw her from her bench into one of the cement walls while the corrugated ceiling and other parts of the classroom fell on top of her, crushing her lungs and small head. Gigi let the screams of agony from her classmates engulf her while her vision turned to nothing but blackness. Finally regaining consciousness Gigi awoke to feel a twisted iron rod protruding through her stomach. She could still hear the cries of the people around her as survivors dug the small children out of the rubble with no other tools than their hands. Trying to cry out for help, Gigi opened her mouth, nothing but a small rasping noise came out. She was so weakened from blood loss and weighted down by the concrete she couldnít move or even speak in an audible pitch. She heard the rescuers carrying her classmates out of the ruins of the classroom and silently prayed that they would find her. She prayed to every god she had ever heard of and ones that might not even exist. Gigiís tears loosened the caked blood that had accumulated on her cheeks and forehead causing it to slowly drip back down her face. She had been turned about in the quake and thrown onto her back but she guessed she was hidden under fragments of what used to be the Eastern-facing wall of her classroom. Gigi thought of her brothers and sisters and her mother and father, she wondered if they had survived. Death, it was a funny thing to her, so sudden and strange. She had never quite experienced it like this before. She cried to the point of exhaustion, finally caving under the increasing weight of her eyelids and falling asleep. Right before her eyes shut, she wondered if she would ever live to see her family again.

No one came for Gigi. Her mouth was as dry as the dust around her and her stomach so empty she forgot what it felt like to not know the increasingly dull ache in the pit of her stomach constantly reminding her that she needed food. Time, the whole concept of it, was lost on Gigi. She had no idea how long she lay there in agony, praying. She prayed for herself, she prayed for her family, but mainly, Gigi prayed for all of Haiti.

While it had only been three days, Gigi felt as if she had been buried, alone, and in pain for weeks on end. The only thing that kept darkness from taking her was the thought of family. There was nothing more in this world that Gigi loved. On what had to have been the fourth day of the most traumatic week in her life, Gigi could no longer hold on. The amount of blood she lost from the gash in her stomach propelled her into a state of delirium. She saw her family before her. She sometimes even felt drops of water trickling onto her face only to awake and find they were bugs crawling over her. Gigi was once again pulled under to a spell of sweating and lapses in cognition. The only thing she could understand was that she was dying and she was not the only one. She knew that many people from Haiti would go to heaven with her; she knew that she wasnít alone. With that thought, the deliria hit her again, but this time she could hear yelling before everything went dark.

Search groups were checking the schools looking for any survivors when they found her. The rubble had shifted and a strangely misshapen foot peeked out from the crumbled cement and roofing. One of the search rescuers saw it and yelled to alert his mates that he had found a survivor. He carefully removed the huge blocks of cement from her frail chest to discover a girl of thirteen or so. His heart flopped when he saw the metal rod sticking out of her stomach. There was no hope for this strong young girl. The man had seen so much death in the city, it wasnít fair for her to have to die along with all the rest. More men rushed into the room. They would have to be very careful extracting her. Her frail body had been twisted up under all the destruction and she was unconscious. After hours of work to save the girlís life, a life that should have had the chance to be so much longer than this, she died in their arms.

Nature has no mercy. It is the strongest of all forces but the only thing that can rival it is love. Love from a country so proud and strong helped so many people survive. Nature is not all-powerful. She has a weakness, and now we know what it is.