Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A smile from Haiti



By the time you read this, I’ll be heading back to Haiti for the day job.



This time, I’m touring tent cities and areas where my organization will be building houses and latrines. With about 1 million people homeless, the need for housing is critical, especially as hurricane season looms on the horizon.


I posted this photo of me with girls at our younger girls orphanage, who swarmed me like ants on my last visit. I hope you remember this smile, and the smiles of so many others, because there is much good work being done by many in Haiti to help those struggling after the earthquake.


When I return, I have a book to write. Right now, it’s hard for me to return to writing my next Nocturne, which is Gabriel’s story. I can’t get the images of Haiti out of my mind.


I think about writing Gabriel, a powerful Draicon werewolf, and see the crushed Hotel Montana that killed several. I think of Darkness of the Wolf, the Bite that recently won the CataRomance Reviewer’s Choice award. I wrote part of it while staying at the hotel, and one hotel in the short story is modeled after the Montana. The stone sculpture that fascinates the little girl once sat by the Montana’s entrance.


I try to write Gabriel’s story and remember seeing the dead bodies lying at the Cathedral doorway, people who were in church and were killed by falling concrete.


I see the haunted, numb expressions on the mothers I talked with, those who don’t know what tomorrow will bring for their children.


I hear the plaintive cry of a four-year-old who was buried beneath his house for five days, his little cousin dying besides him. When he was found, his father walked for 15 miles with his son in his arms to find a doctor. Eventually he found one and his son’s hand was amputated. As I talked with his father, the boy began to cry for his mother.


“He is crying for his mother, but his mother is dead,” the father told me.


I have faith I can return to writing Gabriel’s story.


I keep telling myself that writing romance is important because romance novels are important to readers needing an escape. My Haitian friends had one request for my return. They told me, “Bring romance novels to Haiti.”


I packed a bunch in my suitcase, including Jennifer Ashley’s (NY TIMES BESTSELLING!!! WOOT!) Pride Mates.


Haiti has always been dear to my heart. Haiti’s people are resilient and courageous, and filled with a determination to survive. When I return to writing Gabriel’s story, I’ll remember the people of Haiti and embody my characters with their strength, determination and heart.


And I know I’ll dedicate the book to the people of Haiti.


They deserve their own happy ending.

5 comments:

librarypat February 16, 2010 at 10:31 PM  

Most Americans can not fathom the devastation and hopelessness these people are suffering. There have been disasters here, but the medical aid and other disaster help is there. No matter how bad it gets here, it is still better than many around the world experience on a daily basis as normal.
What Haiti needs now is continued support to develop economically throughout the country. That will help alleviate the overcrowding and extreme poverty in the cities.
Good luck with all the wonderful work you are doing over there. Hopefully you don't have a deadline for your next book. I can't imagine you being able to concentrate.

Heather D February 17, 2010 at 6:40 AM  

Good luck with the wonderful work that you are doing in Haiti. It is such a sad situation. My heart and prayers go to those people. My thanks to those of you that go over to lend support in any way that you can.

EmilyBryan February 19, 2010 at 5:35 AM  

Bonnie, you are a real life heroine and I'm so proud to know you.

Kim February 22, 2010 at 3:01 AM  

Thank you, Bonnie, for your selfless dedication. My neighbors from Fort Meade (Maryland) adopted two children Haiti. We enjoyed learning about the Haitian culture. They were my children's best friends. We moved last summer to Hawaii and my children were sad to leave their friends behind. We were devestated by the news and have raised funds on Hickam AFB to help this struggling nation.

Bonnie Vanak March 2, 2010 at 3:10 AM  

Thanks everyone. I'm back. It was a very productive, exhausting trip.

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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