Signs of Hope Amid Haiti's Rubble

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- It is taking time to deliver relief to the thousands of Haitian people who suffered loss in the earthquake that devastated the area nearly two weeks ago.

But not everyone is sitting around waiting for help to arrive. Some people are finding little ways to help each other and lift their neighbors' spirits.

Delmas is normally a busy street in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. Now it's hard to hear traffic above the sound of the heavy equipment lifting the walls that fell when the earth shook beneath Haiti for 30 seconds.

Still, no machine can lift the pain and memories of the earthquake that killed more than 150,000 people.

"As I was walking outside, the floor was still shaking," quake survivor Carmelo Francois recalled. "And it kept bouncing me up at the same time."

There is destruction at every turn. But amid the rubble, there are also signs of hope - the biggest of which are seen in Haiti's people.

Just around the corner a former gang leader, who children call 'Uncle Jimmie,' cooked rice to serve those who are hungry and sleeping outside.

"We are trying our best to help him out as a family as a community, doing what we can," Francios said.

Francios postponed his return to home to Georgia to help Uncle Jimmie and his father who is blind. He was only supposed to stay for the holiday.

"I don't know what to think about it. People lost their lives, families, businesses," he said.

Hope is also what brought Bethel Baptist Church's Faustin Pierre from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to a hospital in the Dominican Republic.

He has been collecting the names of earthquake survivors who may have family in Florida so he can broadcast them on the radio.

"Whoever has somebody in Miami they cannot get in touch with, I get their name and I give my number. They call me and I let them talk to them and say, 'Hey, I am here. I am alive. This is where I am at,'" Pierre said.

Finally, there is hope in the eyes of Haiti's future - children.

Many little ones were in a tent city, crying. But they also managed to smile and play despite the pain of losing their home or even family.

*Originally published January 25, 2010.

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