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Haitian American Family Thankful Amidst Heartache

African American news from Pasadena -  Haitian American FamilyThe news coming out of Haiti is bittersweet as the lack of any reliable way to get information is causing anxiety for islanders’ brethren in Pasadena.

Faith sustains the Mauvais family as they helplessly watch the earthquake coverage on television.  According to their relatives on the island the earthquake collapsed two of the three houses of their relatives, causing them to run from their homes.

 According to the US Geological Survey the powerful 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck near the capital of Haiti on the afternoon of January 12th.

“As I watched the news I was shocked,” said Ann Marie Mauvais, 72, a Haitian American who resides in Altadena.  “I said Oh my God! It has been painful to watch the bodies in the streets as well as the suffering. I have two sisters as well as other relatives and friends still living in Haiti.  I worry about my people in Haiti.”

The quake disabled mobile phone networks and power grids across Haiti, making it all but impossible to reach anyone in the devastated capital of Port-au-Prince.

Ms. Mauvais said she called her relatives in New York and they informed her that her immediate family members in Haiti were OK.

“I did not realize how severe it was until I got home from work to watch the news,” says Carline Mauvais McGrue, 47.  Ms. McGrue, a Haitian American and Pasadena resident, said she was afraid to watch the news coverage.

“A part of me said watch but the other said, don’t because I could not handle it. I was afraid because I did not want to see one of my relatives lying on the street dead.”

Not all of the Mauvais family members can be accounted for since the quake. Ms. McGrue has a cousin attending nursing school in Port-au-Prince who hasn’t been heard from. The family was told the school building collapsed during the earthquake. So they anxiously wait.

Ms. McGrue is hopeful something good is going to come out of this tragedy.    “We often hear that Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. I am proud to be a Haitian even though I am a citizen of the United States,” she added.

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