VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
Haiti: "Do you know a girl called Lovely?"
July 12, 2010 by Kate Sands Adams
|IRC social worker Etienne Guerline (far left) helped reunite a Haitian mother and daughter who were separated during the January 12 earthquake. Photo: Lucy Carrigan/The IRC.|
After seeing far too much bad news in today’s headlines, it was a joy to read this story in The Independent about the incredible reunion of a mother and daughter who were separated during the earthquake that devastated Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
Ibola Samedi believed that her 12-year-old daughter was killed, along with her 7-year-old son, when the family's home collapsed in the quake, six months ago today. But the girl survived — a policeman discovered her, a day later, roaming the streets of Port-au-Prince. She was disoriented and in shock, unable to say anything but her first name: Lovely.
The policeman took Lovely to a nearby orphanage, where a visiting International Rescue Committee social worker, Etienne Guerline, added her name to a database the IRC created to help reconnect missing children with their families. With nothing more than a photograph of Lovely in hand, and the few details the girl could tell her about her life, Etienne hit the streets -- looking for someone, anyone, who might recognize Lovely and help her find her family.
Months later, Etienne’s dedicated detective work paid off -- Lovely and her overjoyed mother were reunited on Wednesday. Read all about it.