Continued from page 5


At Suy’s request, the first stop after leaving the airport was his old university. The trip was a harrowing ride through streets lined with tent homes, broken buildings and pin-thin little boys begging for money.

At the site of the computer science building that could have been his tomb, much of the debris had been cleared away, but piles of rubble remained that kept Suy, with his walker, from strolling the grounds. He stopped near the gate and stared, memories of that awful day flooding back.

Surveying the ruins, he spotted a grim piece of debris: A human jawbone with several teeth missing.

A visit to his new apartment was a chance to think about the future. It’s in a building owned by one of Merentie’s relatives. Suy pronounced the spacious apartment perfect and thought living on the ground floor would be safe. But he also felt vulnerable, knowing he can’t make a quick escape if another quake hits, or a fire, or some other disaster.

Children in school uniforms wandered into the building’s courtyard, curious perhaps about the young man and the giant doctor in black. Suy quizzed them about their studies.

The youngsters were drawn to this kind stranger, listening intently as he told about being trapped in the quake. Suy told the children they have a duty: “Since you were saved, you have to save other kids.”

The next day was Suy’s 29th birthday, and Merentie organized a party at a hotel in the hills above Port-au-Prince. Suy’s mother and siblings came, along with more than a dozen friends.

A young woman from Suy’s advocacy group sang a hymn of praise, and Suy clasped his hands in prayer at the verse, “Say hallelujah.”

Tears rolled down his cheeks as he looked around at his supporters.

Suy has gone to hell and back, after being left for dead. This is my brother, but he’s also my hero,” Ivankovich said in a brief tribute. “I couldn’t think of anywhere else that I would rather be tonight.”

Suy took a swig of beer. “Thank you all very much,” he said. And then he told of his hopes for his country’s future, where shoeless children won’t have to roam streets washing car windows to survive, and homes will replace tent cities.

“Youth is the hope of my country, is the hope of the world,” he said.



Story Continues →