COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Tuesday marked the first day of classes at Ohio State University, with students returning to their studies, all with their own personal stories.
One student, from Haiti, is thinking about her homeland.
On July 7, gunmen killed the country’s president, Jovenel Moise. About a month later, a massive earthquake leveled homes, claiming more than 2,000 lives and leaving nearly 10,000 people injured.
Then, days later, Tropical Storm Grace moved in, bringing strong winds and heavy rain that knocked out power to many who were just barely hanging on.
“I was thinking when I start classes and get busy, I wouldn’t think about this thing, but it really doesn’t work that way,” said OSU research scholar and Haiti native Louceline Fleuridor. “It comes from time to time and I think I’m very alert and the chair is moving and I’m like, ‘Something is happening.’”
August 14, when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, killing more than 2,200 people. Fleuridor, who is working on her PhD. at Ohio State, remembers it well.
“It started as a normal day on Saturday morning, and then I felt something moving, but I think my first thought was, ‘Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just not feeling OK,’” she said.
Fleuridor is from northern Haiti, but spent the night with family in Port-au-Prince, ahead of her Sunday flight to Ohio.
She made the trip, but it wasn’t until days after the quake.
“Communication is not always easy, so you don’t always get access to internet in Haiti, so even I would like to call, I may not even be able to find them,” Fleuridor said. “Once you call and that phone rings and you don’t hear from anybody, you start imagining things like, ‘Oh my God, what may have happened?’”
Fleuridor said she has seen comments and internet posts saying Haiti is getting what it deserves because of corruption in the country and those who believe in voodoo.
“I think people need to be a little sensitive to the situation because it’s real and affects families, economy,” she said. “We’re already a poor country. It affects in so many levels.”
Fleuridor said her family is doing OK, and she is using university resources to get help with her feeling of guilt for returning to Ohio.
Anyone looking to help with the situation in Haiti can get more information by clicking here.