Additional Coverage Special Report—Haiti
This story is just one article in our special report on Haiti's women's movement.
We'll be adding more stories in the coming weeks—for now, take a look at other articles in this series.
• Read an assessment of the earthquake's impact on Haiti's women's movement in Honoring the Ancestors.
• Read Didi Bertrand's column, Bearing Witness: Girls and Women in Haiti's Camps.
• Internationally acclaimed author and memoirist Edwidge Danticat on her homeland, post disaster.
• View photographer Nadia Todres's powerful photo essay, Documenting the Lives of Girls in Haiti.
• Take a look at SPECIAL REPORT: Haiti Elections—Why Vote for a Woman? to read interviews with Haiti's three female presidential candidates to learn more about their platforms.
• Read the first story in this series, SPECIAL REPORT: Haiti, Women, and the Elections, which takes an in-depth look at women on the ground and the upcoming elections.
• Read World Pulse and Anne-christine d'Adesky's previous coverage on the earthquake, Holding Up Haiti: Women Respond to Nightmare Earthquake, published shortly after news broke of the devastating earthquake.
Gift of Life
Later, some men appeared who carried me into the courtyard. One of them, Riboul Matadore, stayed the rest of the night with me. He caressed my head, wiped the blood from my face, arranged the curtain on my body, supervised the IV, and comforted me.
“I promise you won’t die, Madame. I promise. I’m a drunk, and God loves me. When I’m drunk, I’m good, and He rewards me. I’ll stay with you tonight, because I can see you’re lonely.” Several times he looked to a phone for me to communicate with my family, but the lines were busy, and my family’s phones had lost charge.
He left me a few times to visit with the others who were hurt, and eventually was replaced by a friend. At dawn, he left, promising to return with a bowl of soup for me.
A little later, Yolette arrived, searching for lost colleagues. She offered to tell Guy where I was if she found him, and asked a friend, Tamara, to stay with me. Tamara told me of Yolette’s mother’s death at their residence. She offered me her phone, and finally, around six in the morning, my call to Guy went through. He was alive and in one piece! He ran to the hospital.
Prospery and his sister in law, who is a doctor, also came to the hospital, to take care of me. Guy and my sister decided to transport me to the Dominican embassy. The Dominican Ambassador, Ruben Silie, is an old friend and offered to evacuate me to the neighbor county by helicopter. The trip to Pétion-Ville was difficult; the road was blocked with debris. From the backseat of the car, I could see nothing, but could sense the quiet, heavy desolation that surrounded us. We held our breath, as if our lives depended on it.
In the embassy courtyard, I met friend after friend, consumed with emotion. Miguelina held me hard, sobbing. A Cuban doctor cleaned the wounds on my arm. The pain was atrocious, causing my entire body to bend on the mattress below me. A scream leapt from my throat before I could stifle it. The doctor urged them to evacuate me as soon as possible.
Some men secured me in the helicopter to take me across the border to Jimani. When I arrived, the doctors there sent me to the hospital in Santo Domingo with Guy and Matias. In the ambulance, I knew I was in bad shape.
Meanwhile, my children who were living in Santo Domingo tried to find me a helicopter to get me to the capital faster. Dozens of our friends mobilized to acquire a helicopter for me, and they succeeded. We boarded in Barahona, after about an hour and a half of driving in the ambulance. We landed at Hospital Plaza de la Salud, at seven that night. Another ambulance took me to emergency services. There, a team of professionals took charge of me, testing and examining me rigorously.
The doctors told me that I needed to be operated on that night. My chest was crushed—the left half of my collarbone was broken and four ribs had pierced my lungs. The skin and veins in my right arm were in tatters, and I had lost a lot of blood.
I let go of myself again. I could at least rest, and abandon myself in the arms of the doctors. I was saved. Matias was healthy and safe. Guy was alive and safe. Dozens of people, in a long chain of unconditional solidarity, on both sides of the border, gave me the gift of life.
Watch a video interview with Evelyn Margron about her experience.