A Haitian woman escaped gunshots and terror in Port-au-Prince only to lose contact with her husband

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A female who has been shuttling her family to hide from convulsive gangs passim Port-au-Prince, Haiti, said that she and her children are safe for now but that she has mislaid interaction pinch her husband. 

Marlene Calix, 35, has lived for nan past 5 years successful La Plaine, a vicinity successful Haiti’s capital, a family-friendly spot known for its level onshore surrounded by mountains, which is chock afloat of restaurants.  

Calix Marlene.Calix Marlene.Courtesy Calix Marlene

But successful August, equipped groups invaded her neighborhood, forcing her and her family to fly for Carrefour, different vicinity successful Port-au-Prince.  

“After a while, things sewage heated successful Carrefour, and nan pack took complete nan area,” she said successful an interview.  “That’s erstwhile we near and returned to La Plaine. To overgarment a image for you, gangs return complete vicinity aft neighborhood.”

A period later, Calix’s family heard things had settled down successful La Plaine, truthful they returned to their house. The rumors, however, were false. 

“Oh, my Lord, erstwhile we returned to La Plaine, everything was atrocious and devastating; nan vicinity was destroyed. It’s God who saved us,” she said.

Calix described nan fearfulness and uncertainty that gripped her family upon their return. “People locked their doors and didn’t spell extracurricular because of danger,” she said. 

“Everything was dangerous. Sometimes, we would hide wrong our house, looking retired nan model to spot if personification was going to nan market, and past we would inquire them to get this for us,” she said. “Neighbors who cognize each different helped each different out. We each lived successful distress, successful fear.”  

On a Wednesday successful October, calamity struck. Calix recalled nan time her vicinity was invaded while she and her family were attending church. 

Decelyn and Rose-Esther airs for a photograph successful beforehand of a tree.Decelyn pinch Rose-Esther.Courtesy Calix Marlene

“They didn’t get to our location yet,” she said. “So I ran wrong and grabbed a mini container that had important documents.” In nan scramble, Calix said, she heard gunshots ringing out.  

“I grabbed my kids and ran,” she said. “Everyone was moving successful different directions. Houses were getting group connected fire, moreover mine. To this day, I don’t don’t cognize really we are alive.”

Calix and her 2 children, Rose-Esther, a 6-year-old girl, and Decelyn, a 9-year-old boy, fled Port-au-Prince, leaving nan superior down and heading north. 

Calix’s husband, Delins Francois, 39, was astatine activity during nan penetration and hasn’t been heard from since. “He sells merchandise for illustration headphones and electronics. He is simply a thoroughfare vendor. Ever since that day, I person ne'er heard from him,” she said done tears. 

The family’s travel to information was fraught pinch danger, arsenic they begged for rides and relied connected strangers to thief them scope Cap-Haitien, astir 130 miles northbound of Port-au-Prince.  

Calix only had clip to battalion basal documents for illustration commencement certificates and passports. She expressed sadness astatine losing family pictures, her kids’ study cards and different beautiful memories.

Delins Francois.Delins Francois.Courtesy Calix Marlene

With nary money, “we begged people. People cognize and spot nan situation. We asked for rides and carpooled until we sewage to wherever we were going,” she said. People gave them crackers to eat connected nan road. 

Calix said that on nan way, successful Port-au-Prince’s Morne Cabrit, equipped men stopped their car and robbed them astatine gunpoint. They entered nan car and took “everything that was successful it,” she said. 

The family didn’t resist, knowing nan threat of defiance successful that unforgiving place. The children were visibly affected, crying and shaking passim nan chaos. “My daughter, each time she physically has her hands successful her mouth, crying,” she said.

“We prayed truthful they wouldn’t wounded america and to fto america spell pinch nary harm, because, successful Morne Cabrit, Port-au-Prince, they don’t springiness group chances,” she said. “They told nan driver to go. When nan car started driving away, nan pack members fired a fewer gunshots up successful nan sky. They didn’t sprout straight astatine nan vehicle.” 

The travel took them 3 days until they reached Cap-Haitien. 

Despite nan hardships they faced, Calix expressed gratitude for their survival. Every day, she worries astir her husband. “I don’t cognize wherever he is, if he is live aliases if he is dead,” she said.

Since nan escape, Calix said, she has struggled to make ends meet. She had been a stay-at-home mother, and her hubby was nan breadwinner successful nan household. Now, she relies connected occasional laundry-washing jobs to support her family. Decelyn and Rose-Esther haven’t been backmost to schoolhouse since nan unit erupted. “I don’t person nan financial resources anymore for school,” she said.

As Calix continues to rebuild her life amid nan ongoing crisis, she remains grateful for nan support of her organization and holds connected to dream for a amended early but knows that returning to Port-au-Prince isn’t an option. “If we didn’t die,” she said, “it’s because God wanted america to survive.”

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Fredlyn Pierre Louis

Fredlyn Pierre Louis is simply a news subordinate for NBC News and MSNBC.