Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day after day

Zilania is still in the hospital and still in a lot of pain. Her husband is by her bed trying to comfort her when she cries in pain.
I'm so sad to see mommy like this day after day... I know that I need to be strong right now but this is getting to me.

The room is small and crowded, shared by several patients and their family members who tend them.
It seems like having means makes a big difference. As mentioned before, Coffy goes out and buys food for his mom. Today he also bought food and water for the other people in the room, just trying to help a little bit. He can't relieve his mom's pain, but he has to do something, help with whatever he can.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hallway (2)

Day 3 at the hospital. Coffy's mom was hospitalized in the hallway with many other patients, many of them in a lot of pain. They constantly cry and moan in pain.
This is the kind of sound you hear all day over here. One can never get used to this.

Finally she was moved out of the hallway to a hospital room:
They just move my mother to a room today, but like the doctor said "be careful! 'Cause the place is prone to infections".

Coffy spent some time helping other patients, giving them water and offering support.

Some of the stories of people in the hallway are truly amazing:

Amazing story: A two storey building fell while he was inside and he didn't break one bone, amazing!

Because of her diabetes, Coffy's mother needs to be on a low-sugar diet. However the hospital cannot accommodate this need and she is offered the same food as everybody else, high-sugar food that is bad for her health. Coffy goes out every day and buys her food that's appropriate for her condition. It is very important to get her diabetes back on track and make her stronger. And she is, getting stronger, just a little bit every day.


The hallway looks better this morning there are less patients, and I see some doctors and nurses checking on them. However, it's still crowded in here, as you can see there are at least ten patients including my mother in the hallway cause all the rooms are packed already.

Anyway, what's important is that there are doctors here. I'll send some videos later.


Yakini this is a very different theme this morning. I see a lot of doctors in the hallway, a lot of nurses, and patients, they are looking at the reports
that's my mother, she's still here, she's laying down

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thank you...

For those of you with whom we share a warm relationship; for those of you with whom we share a mere acquaintance; for those of you who discovered us through a friend or our website...we just want to say thank you

We CANNOT EXPRESS the gratitude that we feel for all of your love and support. EVERYONE extended their hand in comfort without hesitation. We just want to let you know that it was all taken in and none of it went to waste. All the kind and encouraging words made this unimaginable journey a little more bearable. With all of the support, we were able to follow through with our plan to locate Coffy's family and for us (Yakini, Ade, and Akin) to deal with Coffy's absence during this terrible crisis. We must say, it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to do, and bear, if it was not for you. 

We have been so blessed to have ALL OF YOU in our lives. Your support has been that of financial and emotional, but we can and shall not underestimate the spiritual support that you have bestowed upon us. Your kind words and gestures stay with our family, and are ESPECIALLY with us when this crisis becomes difficult to deal with. We are never alone because we know that you all are with us, spiritually.

We are so blessed to be surrounded by so many good people and we can only hope that we will be able to support you as rapidly and as fully as you have supported us.

Fw: Some news

The world is one big family. As it happens, Ade's roommate Bianca has relatives in the Dominican Republic, who met Coffy and helped him and his parents in Santo Domingo.
This is an email he sent just now to update:

Subject: Some news
To: yakini
Date: Thursday, January 28, 2010, 11:32 AM
The lady named Ambalina, was a good help. Thanks to her the director
of the hospital came and let us in. Inside, we met the doctor who saw
mom and she said that they would need three months before they can
operate on her because the leg is infected inside and is in very bad
condition and would need care prior to the surgery. Further more, the
doctor said that the hospital cannot accommodate mom for that long and
would not recommend keeping her there for the place is prone to
infections and mom as well. Then I explained that I'm not from
here (Santo Domingo) that my parents' house in Haiti is destroyed and
that I live in Chicago, and that I'm staying in a motel here if
there's anyway they can help me. They said that they could
give me a letter to go the US embassy and see if they can help me out
since I live in the US.
However, the papers will possibly be ready tomorrow or Saturday, but
I'll try and to the embassy without them today anyway just to at least
get a contact.

At the hospital

Coffy sent us some video messages telling about the conditions at the hospital and the treatment that his mother is receiving. However due to the graphical nature of these videos we wish to edit them prior to uploading them to the internet, out of respect to other people who may appear in these videos.
We appreciate your patience. Please check here later for the edited videos.

(Coffy in his email: I thought she was going to a room and ended up in a hallway, but some help is better then no help at all.)


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Coffy's mom is at a hospital

I just got the word that Coffy's mother was finally admitted to a hospital, she's finally in a room in a hospital (Hospital General de la Plaza de la Salud? I'm not sure -- but it's in Santo Domingo. The hospital on the border that Coffy was considering is, as it turns out, a tent camp with poor conditions)*.

There are currently 200 Haitians in that hospital, and Coffy's mother was given high priority.
All I know for now, is that they put a cast on her leg to stabilize her;
She is still too weak for an operation, but definitely needs one.

I hope to update more later as i hear more from Yakini.


* the name of the hospital is Hospital Dr. Darío Contreras in Santo Domingo.
She's not really in a room, she was placed in the corridor with many other patients.
The hospital is equipped to treat 40 patients, and they now have more than 200. the hospital staff is doing all they can to help everybody, but the conditions are of course not optimal.

Search for medicine

1/26/10 Coffy on camera on his way to buy medicine for his mother. (sorry for the poor quality and noise level)

Yakini I am in Santo Domingo
I'm now going to a pharmacy cause her glycemia medicine and her blood pressure medicines are finished
and I've been to a couple of pharmacies and they don't have exactly what she needs so I'm going somewhere else
and I've just been to the hospital to get her Xrays
they're not ready yet
they told me that I should come back tomorrow
because the doctor who supposed to do the reports is not there
he his father who just died
so I'll come back tomorrow for the Xray and the report
but i have her blood test results
so that's a good thing that I was able to accomplish today
I'll call back later

Claude Nady frère de Tuoco Bouzi (found)

From: Marie Nady
To: Yakini Ajanaku
Date: Wednesday, January 27, 2010, 11:52 AM

Friday night while at work, I decided to try and stop worrying about my father. Instead I decided to try to hold positive thoughts about him As soon as I made that decision, I heard a small voice say 'google him'. I heard it and thought 'that's a good idea maybe later'. Then I heard it again, more insistently, 'GOOGLE HIM'.

So I did. I had to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen before I saw his name. But there it was, HIS NAME. I clicked on the website and started trying to read it. It was written mostly in French. I started getting frustrated as I don’t read French very well. But I kept trying. And then I saw this:

Claude Nady frère de Tuoco Bouzi (found)

I couldn’t believe it. It had to be him, because I remember Tuoco (my very very handsome uncle who was a well-known drummer in Haiti). OMG! So, I called a number from the website and reached a woman who happened to be a state representative. Because it was late at night, she asked me to email her the next day with my info. When I got home from work the next morning, I could barely sleep. I woke up (after only 3 hours of sleep) and found a message from her stating that she had forwarded my info to the people from the website. They in turn got in touch with my uncle Touco. Then Touco called me. He told me

that my father is fine. He is living with his sister and that they are both absolutely fine. This happened on Friday. It took another two days to get through and finally speak with my father. It was so good to finally hear his voice. He was able to get out of his apartment when the first quake hit. His apartment was damaged but not destroyed, but of course it is uninhabitable. As most people in Haiti, he's been sleeping outside. I can't imagine having to live through that.

Thank you for all of your prayers and good thoughts.


One more attempt to find help

To: yakini
Date: Wednesday, January 27, 2010, 6:50 AM

Hi cherie,

This morning we're on our way to Cure International, an organization here in Santo Domingo, to try and see if they have the means to help mom with the surgery. Hopefully they can. After that we might try to go back to the Jamani border, a six hours drive, which the previous doctor disagreed with and warned us about moving too much because of her condition. I feel we might not have choice if the Cure International can't help us.

Anyway, wish us luck.

Coffy and his parents are now staying in a motel in Santo Domingo.

Unfortunately Cure International would not treat her, and now Yakini is in touch with "Partners in Health organization" to arrange for a ride to the border.
In a parallel effort, it may be possible that she will be accepted at a hospital in Santo Domingo called Hospital General de la Plaza de la Salud. It's a big general hospital that has been taking Haitian patients.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1/20: Rain and aftershock - note from Coffy

(Coffy wrote this note on Jan 20, 2010 but managed to send it only today, Jan 26.)

Last night was a challenge because it rained. Since the earthquake everyone's been living outside, but we didn't have a tent and it started raining so I picked my mother up and carried her inside to a corner of the house that wasn't damaged to wait for the rain to pass. The rain did stop for a moment then started pouring again, so we laid on the floor and fell asleep only to be awakened by another earthquake of the magnitude of 6.1, that rocked the house like a boat on the ocean at around five Am. though smaller then the previous quake of 7.6.

I was scared out of my width. I jumped off ran out back with my mom, and dad was right behind me. Then as quick as it came the earthquake stopped.

This is a feeling I'll never forget. The solid ground as you know it becomes unstable as if you were on water on a piece of cardboard or something.
Anyhow, we're still here. All is well. Thankfully there was no more rain and even if there was I'd rather get wet then go in that house again.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Coffy's videos from the road

Coffy sent home some short videos that he's been taking with his phone. In these movies you can see Coffy and his parents on the Tap Tap on the way to the border, a few days ago.

Yakini unfortunately I
just left the ??? hill
in Haiti
and we are coming here
in this area called ???
and now in the flat area
only now I remember I have the camera
I've been so scared
I forgot I had a camera to take pictures
or anything like that
but anyway
I'm now down the hills

As you can see Yakini
I am not sad
I'm very happy that I found them
and that they're OK
and I'm getting them to the Dominican Republic
where they can get medical help
because in Haiti right now there is no hospital
and ah
where the help is
all the way downtown is very hectic
and she's going to Santo Domingo to live with my sister and get medical care
which I'm very happy for that

We are still here
we are now still traveling towards the border
on the dirt road
and my mother's hanging pretty well
she's hanging pretty well
we are ??? in the taptap
but the dust is unbelievable

Kanval 2008 Mete Men

We're still waiting for more news from Coffy. in the meanwhile, enjoy this video clip from 2008, featuring Coffy, Yakini, Ade, Akin and others.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Louis Fanon

The nicest guy I've ever met, a true brother who everyday goes out of his way to help us in every way he can in those difficult times here in Santo Domingo, while helping others in Haiti as well, especially children.

Louis is a Chicagoan, who took some time off from work and went down to Haiti and the Dominican Republic to help. He's helping Coffy with translation and everything else.

sharing a bed

Coffy and his father shared a bunk bed at the private hospital, Clinica Rodriguez Santos.

Reserve Coffy told Yakini on the phone today: "of all the parents whose kids are musicians I feel we are the luckiest ones"


Coffy and his parents made it to the Dominican Republic. This is the good news.

The bad news is that his mother isn't doing well at all.

Coffy tried to check her into a hospital, but they were not taking any more Haitians. The second hospital turned them down saying the same thing. They finally had her checked into a private hospital, where she went through a complete evaluation: her leg is fractured; her blood glucose is through the roof (400 - where normal glucose levels fall between 70 and 150 mg); her organs are shutting down slowly because of that; she has other complications because of a surgery that she went through before the earthquake, that apparently was badly executed.

The bottom line, the doctors say, is that she needs to have a complete hip replacement surgery. However, she cannot go through the surgery before her diabetes is back on track, a recovery process that will take about three months. Even then, the surgery would cost $1200.

Due to the high rate of $390 per night of hospitalization (American $), Coffy had to take her out of the hospital and is now looking for suitable housing for her.
She cannot survive a trip back to Haiti in Tap-Tap.
She cannot afford to be hospitalized in a private hospital.
She cannot stay with Coffy's sister, who lives on the 8th floor with no elevator.

But WE cannot afford to do nothing. We did not come all this way to watch her die.

We need to get Reserve and Zilania to the US, so that Zilania receives the high quality treatment that she needs but can't afford.

Again we're asking for your help.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Leave a message

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Getting to the border

The day started at 5AM for Coffy and his parents. Early in the morning
he rented a "Tap Tap" vehicle to take them all from their family home
to the border. We got his phone call when they were 5-7 hr into the trip,
and had about 5 hours more to go.

Everybody is a little bit better, he said. His mom is upset - but his dad is

The drive on poor back roads is physically painful. His mom is still not
feeling well. She is in better spirits, but in a lot of pain - despite the pain
pills that Coffy gave her. To make her a little more comfortable, Coffy
had her lay on a mat that he put on himself, so that to use his own body
as a shock absorbent and protect her, even a little bit, from the bumpy road.

After they reach the border the plan is to continue by bus to the Dominican
Republic where Coffy's sister lives. Coffy reserved the bus tickets in advance,
and bought two rows of seats at the back of the bus with hopes that the little
extra space would make the long trip more bearable for his parents.

Missing: Claude Nady

Yakini, pls post this. As you know I am still awaiting word on my father. I have not been able to reach anyone that knows anything. I know Coffy's hands are full with his family and I know that he will do what he can to help find my father but in the meantime if you could post this, maybe someone out there has seen him or at least knows something. Claude Nady is 73 years old, his D.O.B is 10/6/36. His last known address is on Rue Nazon, but he recently moved in with his sister. I don't have her name, but maybe Nady is still her last name. If you have any information re Claude or anyone else with the last name of Nady, pls let us know.

Thank you
Marie Nady

  • 1/24 update: Marie's father was found and is OK as far as we know, we are still waiting for the details
  • 1/27 update: yes, he's OK! more details here
  • On the streets

    " I am now in Haiti
    and I'm looking at all the disaster that
    actually happened here
    just really
    terrible terrible

    it's even worse when you look at it
    than what you look
    what you look on tv -- it's just not the same"

    "Yakini this is where Gamo used to work
    that's Gamo's work right here
    and there's Gamo he's lucky enough he wasn't there
    a friend called him outside
    he just stepped outside to talk with a friend
    and it just happened
    just powerful
    that's his work he's standing here in disbelief he can't even believe it
    everything just collapsed
    just in a few seconds
    about seven seconds
    the whole building crumbles"

    "Yakini this is the palace
    i've been seeing it on tv but this is really devastating
    completely broken
    it's really truly unbelievable
    i can't even believe it
    everything around you is broken
    unfortunately i don't have anything to help them with
    i just hope i can..
    if you can send everything you can send
    chocolate cereal boxes
    most impotently money so we can get things to eat and water"

    What next?

    Coffy found his parents at the back yard of their family home. They had only survived because their roof was made of tin and not concrete.
    They survived, but when he found them they were in bad shape - dehydrated and starved.
    You can see in the pictures... they look like a sad shadow of themselves.

    His mom Zilania is very ill. She is a diabetic, and needless to say that she did not receive her insulin shots while she was stranded.

    Right now Coffy is trying to get them out of Haiti to get medical treatment.
    The travel is physically challenging and he is very worried for her ability to go through it.

    A thank you from Reserve Coffy

    Reserve Coffy thanks Yakini for supporting Coffy and allowing him to leave his home and family behind and go search and rescue him and his wife. He says to Yakini that she is no longer his daughter-in-law, instead she is now his daughter.

    "that was my father
    i am with him now
    he's doing well
    and i am so happy
    he is thanking my family for supporting me in coming here and help him"


    "When the Earth Moved,

    We Moved"


    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    A moving moment in history…

    On January 20th, in the midst of a broken city and his broken home, Coffy found his parents in the corner of their backyard in Port-Au-Prince, sitting under a tree.

    His mother, Zilania Joassaint, was sitting in a wheelchair with a broken leg. His father, Reserve Coffy, was standing over her. It was a dark night and the only light that Coffy had was a candle.

    His mother cried out in Haitian Creole, “God, you are so mean to me. Why are you so mean; to make me think this is my son who came for me.” “But it is me who came,” Coffy said, “Bend down, let me see if it is really you,” she went to recognize his scent. And then she wept and wept, she recognized that it he had truly come for her. “Everyone left and you came,” she said.

    "mom and dad"

    They are of poor health; very frail and extremely dehydrated. His mother has a grayish tone and they had both become very thin. But they are alive.

    To sustain themselves, they had been sharing and eating one to two crackers a day. They had little to no fluids. Coffy was a hero in disguise. He came with water and food, enough to help lead them from their frail state.

    "i found them"

    "back of the house"

    "oh my god!"

    "mom's hurt, but alive!"

    1/20/10: Rain and aftershocks

    (note: Coffy managed to send this note that he wrote on 1/20 only on 1/26)

    Last night was a challenge because it rained. Since the earthquake everyone's been living outside, but we didn't have a tent and it started raining so I picked my mother up and carried her inside to a corner of the house that wasn't damaged to wait for the rain to pass. The rain did stop for a moment then started pouring again, so we laid on the floor and fell asleep only to be awakened by another earthquake of the magnitude of 6.1, that rocked the house like a boat on the ocean at around five Am. though smaller then the previous quake of 7.6.

    I was scared out of my width. I jumped off ran out back with my mom, and dad was right behind me. Then as quick as it came the earthquake stopped.

    This is a feeling I'll never forget. The solid ground as you know it becomes unstable as if you were on water on a piece of cardboard or something.
    Anyhow, we're still here. All is well. Thankfully there was no more rain and even if there was I'd rather get wet then go in that house again.

    Yakini, i am here

    Yakini, I am here, I just got in the house, as you can see it's a candle-lit time, there's no light nothing
    and i'm walking in the outside
    pitch black
    but i made it

    [this video was sent to Yakini on Jan 20]

    To Dad from Akin

    To Dad from Akin
    If you are reading this letter I just want to ask how are you? How is your mom and dad ?Are they OK? Anyway back here is fine. I am back in school and now taking my reading test. Wish me luck. I don't think I will need it though. Back at home Mom is working double over time because she is doing her shift and yours. While your'e gone,promise me that you won't worry about us. I have to go so by.

    (Tuesday January 19,2010 Akin at school)

    [in the picture: the Ajanaku-Coffy family. from left to right: Akin, Coffy, Ade and Yakini. the picture was taken in Haiti a few years ago.]

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Journey to Port-Au-Prince

    Getting on the bus to Port-Au-Prince…

    To board the bus to Port-Au-Prince you must have the
    following: eight days worth of water and protein drinks, water
    purification tablets, a flashlight, and a portable tent. If
    you do not have or are lacking just a few of these items, you
    are not welcome on the bus. You are considered a liability,
    and therefore a burden to the crisis in Haiti, if you cannot
    provide for yourself. The bus depart was delayed due to so
    many people lacking supplies, including Coffy.

    Coffy bought the things he lacked and boarded the bus.

    Who is on the bus?

    Chip the videographer
    Five American doctors
    Two Haitian Americans
    Jean Paul Coffy

    Chip the videographer is headed to Haiti to document the
    tragic stories that are in abundance and the unreal miracles
    that lack in happenstance.
    Out of everyone on the bus, Chip recognized Coffy.
    Coffy was once the musical director of a roots music group
    called Boukman Eksperyans. Their group toured all over the
    world and acquired a massive fan base. Chip the videographer
    was a fan.

    Five American doctors had just left an expedition in
    Indonesia. The 7.0 earthquake occurred in Haiti and almost
    immediately after, they journeyed to Haiti to give as much aid
    as they can. What are the odds?

    Two Haitian Americans with a saddening presence. Noticeably
    miserable, Coffy made conversation. They are from New York and
    Miami and seem to be traveling to Port-Au-Prince for the same
    reason as Coffy, to see if their loved ones are alive and

    Coffy…(in a recent phone call to Yakini) lets her know that
    there is absolutely no electricity in the capital of Port-Au-
    Prince. Confirming both of their beliefs that contact will be
    at a minimum for some time, if any at all; but letting her
    know that he loves her and that while he is away, his family
    and his friends are in his heart.

    On the bus…

    The trip, by bus, from Santo Domingo is normally eight to ten
    hours. Due to the debris, the broken roads, alternate routes,
    and any unexpected circumstances, the trip will be longer.

    In the same phone call to Yakini Coffy states that he does not
    know what to expect when he gets there. But so far, he has no
    regrets. He is actually glad that he went. He expresses his
    gratitude to everyone who has been there for him both morally
    and financially, stating "without their support, I couldn't
    go." He wants everyone to know that he is well and that he
    knows that this experience will change EVERYONE'S life, but
    most of all, he is thankful.

    Brittany Law

    how are you??

    This is an email correspondence between Yakini and a close friend, Regine.
    We feel it will give you direct insight into what's going on in Haiti.
    these very personal words are publish here with Regine's consent.

    From: yakini
    Subject: how are you??
    Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 9:55 AM
    You are in my thoughts and I just want to know if you and your family are alive and ok.
    Please let me know.
    Yakini and Family

    From: regine
    Subject: Re: how are you??
    Date: Thursday, January 14, 2010, 7:00 PM
    Dear Yakini

    We're alive in the midst of so much death, confusion, pain and sorrow. The destruction is beyond description, I've wondered about Roudy's parents and Gameau. W'eve lost Magalie Marcelin and Myriam among others. Kou a fe nou mal!
    Thanks for writing
    Love to all


    From: yakini
    Date: Friday, January 15, 2010, 9:49 AM
    Let us know what you need. I am so sorry for all of our losess.

    From: regine
    Date: Saturday, January 16, 2010, 6:33 PM

    I just don't know what to tell you. right now there is so much uncertainty. we have food and water but Lord knows what the next step will be. everyone agrees this is the time for a new way of living, at once simpler and more harmonious. but what that looks like I have no clue.
    thank you for your offer, Yakini. I'll let you know when things get more clear.
    I spoke to Manze earlier today and Lolo stopped by my house to check on us. they're fine though we're all in shock.
    Any news of Roudy's family?


    From: yakini
    Date: Monday, January 18, 2010, 1:03 PM
    Hello I hope you are getting better and better each day. Coffy could not bear it any longer. He left for Haiti last night via Dominican Republic to arrive in Haiti tonight. Let us pray for him that no news was infact good news.
    Also how is Lou Lou holding up?
    I cannot even Imagine what you are feeling now.
    Please share if you can.
    Thinking of you.

    From: regine
    Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 9:08 AM

    By now, Rudy must have arrived here. I pray dearly for him as well that he does find his loved ones. Tell him not to get discouraged though, if he doesn't find them right away. So many have had to abandon their home for camping grounds nearby or further away. He can contact me at xxx-xxxx, my cell number. Cell communication also requires patience as the system is not yet fully operative.
    Loulou is holding on, apparently fine, but we know like all of us, the impact of this event is far-reaching. He's seen dead bodies and horrific destruction. There's one positive aspect to all this though. For the past three or four days, Ronald and his brothers have been operating their treatment plants and distributing purified water to all for free., Loulou, Gaetan and some of their schoolmates have been helping, filling people's jugs all day. At the end of their first day, we had a debriefing session so they could express their feelings and thoughts about the event and their involvement with relief efforts. They shared some profound thoughts about feeling sadness and sharing people's pain, becoming aware of the impermanence of things in life and the importance of cherishing those we love beyond anything, as well as thoughts about nature's might and the need to adapt ourselves to its rythm.
    As for myself, it's hard to describe all I feel. There's a mixture of disbelief at the apocalyptic scope of the event (beyond anything imaginable). All references -personal/historical/cultural/political - gone: the National Palace, the Legislative Palace, the Justice Palace, the Palais des Ministeres (health, finances,interior, public works, "planification"), Contributions - gone. The Cathedrale de Port-au-Prince, l'eglise du Sacre-Coeur. St-Louis Roi-de-France, Sainte-Trinite, l'Archeveche de Port-au-Prince, etc..,- gone. The Banque Nationale de Credit and others, Hospitals like SODEC and others,- gone. Schools like les Soeurs du Sacre-Coeur (where I went to school for 14 years), Gerard Gourge, and dozens of others - gone. Supermarkets like Twins, Carribean, and others - gone. Whole neighborhoods, people, GONE in 35 seconds, long enough for a commercial jingle.
    Everywhere concrete slabs, collapsed roofs and walls, broken bodies, broken lives. Whole houses, just plain gone (Jean-claude's (Zo), and others no longer visible from my terraces, unfamiliar vistas everywhere. Utter uncertainty. Living in the present moment, one breath at a time, or at least feeling like it. No project. Fuzzines about the future.
    Every instant is at once sublime and tragic. A chapter is definitiveley over, for Ayiti and each and every one of us here. There's at times waves of sadness that threatens to engulf me before the suffering of thousands- orphans, widows and widowers, who've lost family, limbs, homes and hope. There's sadness before the sudden departures of dear friends and perplexity at the apparent randomness of deaths and survivals (who handpicked who?), and also at this peculiar destiny of ours - us, the haitian people.
    Paradoxically there's a sweetness to living simply outdoors, back to bare essentials: cooking, eating, bathing outside, sleeping together under the stars, like we're back to the time of Taino Indians. People are living in the streets and in most neighborhoods, the sense of solidarity is strong, as people are sharing news, stories, tears, laughter, food and water. I thoroughly savor it - except there's the tragic circumstances around it all. As we are all survivors of a momentous event, we all wonder about possible meaning and implications for us.
    I watch my mother's shrieking frame lying in her bed in the front yard, knowing she would have preferred to not be a part of this (read: alive), and I watch Mario's daughter, being her palyful, cheerful, bundle-of-joy self, celebrating her seventh anniversary today, running about the grounds in front of the house that we all must stay away from for now. I watch Bos Candio and his courageous wife who has a broken ankle, camping with us for two days and nights, before finally getting her leg amputated this afternoon at a nearby hospital, all with a serene smile on her face.
    I am truly in the midst of a mystery, Yakini.
    What I know for sure, my old life is gone and I have no regrets. I cannot go back to doing things the same, especially professionally. All those dead bodies under concrete slabs, the real killer rather than the actual quake.

    I'll write another time about how I think you all could assist most efficiently.

    Much Love to you all


    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Haiti update from Coffy

    I apologize for my absence last week. Yakini has shared all of your kind words with me. It is nice to know that in my absence, I have your support. However, after unbearably waiting for responses from our family in Haiti, we as a family have decided that there is a need for me to go and locate our loved ones. Sitting, constantly watching the tragedy play out on the news was very painful for us. I just needed to go, for the sake of our loved ones, to get some conclusive answers.

    I left yesterday, on a flight that put me in Santo Domingo, due to Haiti’s border being closed. It is my hope to arrive, by bus, in Port-Au-Prince tomorrow afternoon. I know that it is my responsibility to keep the people that I have left behind informed. Electricity may be down and there may be a lack of communication due to cell phone signals being down, but I will be sure to do my best to keep everyone informed. I have asked Yakini to compile notes for me on my whereabouts and experiences through information that I provide to her.

    There is a dire need for supplies in Haiti and any help toward the cause would be appreciated. At this moment, the support of cash would be most helpful. Supplies need to be bought and I am sure that I will be able to get them directly to the people. Yakini will be accepting cash donations on my behalf that will Western Unioned to me, eventually setting up a Pay Pal account to make the transactions easier. Thank you in advance not only for your donations but for your support.

    I would like to take this time out to say that despite this unexpected and unimaginable hardship, the daycare will still continue to function in the loving way that it always has. Although I will be in absence, Yakini and the rest of the daycare staff will be sure to continue to give the quality care to the children and the families. Thank you in advance once again to the parents and the staff for being so sensitive and understanding in this time of great remorse. My absence will only be temporarily. Thank you especially to the staff for the good work and effort that I know will be put into the day care while I am gone.

    Lastly, I humbly ask the parents of La Grande Famille to watch over my family while I am away. This is a critical time for Yakini, Ade, and Akin and I will be too far away to comfort and console them when they need me most, although I will do my best from the distance that I am at. I know that you have a genuine care and concern for my family and they also feel the same for you. I just ask that you are there.

    I am unable to express my words as well as I would like at the time. I hope that everything was clearly stated. However if you have any concerns, feel free to contact me or Yakini at any time.

    The first link below is an ad that I put out in order to find the location of my parents. No responses yet. The second link is a newspaper article from the tribune. Yakini and I were featured briefly. I just want to share with you an experience that helped me make the decision to go to Haiti.

    see last three paragraphs:,0,5783459.story


    Jean Paul Coffy

    The Ajanaku-Coffy Family and the Haiti Crisis

    Jan 14, 2010

    Dear parents of La Grande Famille,

    As many of you may know, the recent tragedy in Haiti has hit us directly. We have very close family members in Haiti (Coffy’s parents, brothers, and extended family) that we have not been able to locate. This is a very difficult time for us and our children.

    However, we still intend to give the best care we can to the children of La Grande Famille. We know that as parents, the care of your child is very important to you. We wanted to share this with you because you are an extension of our family. We pray that we hear something positive and as circumstances change, we will be sure to keep you up-to-date.

    Our daughter Ade has such fond memories of her childhood in Haiti in which we lived for six years. She has asked us to help her create an organization called Help Haiti Help Itself. For those of you who would love to help us in any way, you will be able to donate to our organization as soon as everything is set in place. Thank you in advance.

    Thank you sincerely for your concern and sensitivity toward this matter,
    Yakini and Jean Paul Coffy