Pair of CSU Athletes Touched by Haiti DisasterJanuary 14, 2010
By John Strubel and Blake Freeland
Jacques Bazile stares at the horrific images of Haiti flashing in succession on CNN. Each time he sees another report, his hopes dim while his prayer count increases.
Bazile, a junior criminal justice major and football player at Charleston Southern University, was born and raised in Ile de la Tortue, an island off Haiti (also called Tortuga Island). His relatives are all from Port-au-Prince, ground zero of Tuesday’s devastating earthquake.
Between peeks at the television, Bazile pulls his mobile phone from his jacket and his thumb starts scrolling for a message; nothing yet.
Bazile’s grandmother lives just north of Port-Au-Prince. Following two sleepless nights, Bazile called his mother this morning and learned his grandmother was safe. He has no idea if she still has a home but, frankly, Bazile doesn’t care. “Losing the house, I don’t care,” he said. “I am just glad she is OK.”
Bazile was in his dormitory room Tuesday night when the news broke of a massive earthquake in Haiti. “I was shocked at first,” remembers Bazile. “Then I just started praying.”
Is no news, good news? Hardly. Not knowing whether his relatives are alive or dead, Bazile is worried, calling his mother in Naples, Florida every chance he gets. “I’ve been calling her like crazy,” said Bazile. “I started crying this morning. You just think of the worst.”
As of early Thursday afternoon, the American Red Cross is reporting an estimated 50,000 people lost their lives in the devastating quake that collapsed businesses and homes.
“Just imagine if you were in Japan right now and you heard your hometown was bombed,” explained Bazile.
At the age of 10 Bazile’s family moved to Naples, Florida. He enrolled at CSU in the Fall 2007, but his heart is in Haiti right now.
Also affected was men's basketball player Stanley Honorat, who also has family in Haiti. Honorat's report was not as positive as Bazile's, learning that two of his aunts and an uncle, all on him mother's side of the family, lost their lives. Honorat still awaits word from his father's side, but said it looks grim.
"I have seen their houses and how they were built and we are not very optimistic," said Honorat. "Right before it happened, my mom was actually on the phone with her sister. They hung up and about 30 minutes later she saw it on the news and couldn't believe it. Immediately she tried to call back and every line was busy. Eventually some American missionaries who are down there called us and confirmed that they were dead."
Honorat's parents continue to try to make contact with their other relatives, but for now it's just a very painful waiting game.