Haiti’s Heartbreak Hitting Close to Home

Dead bodies on the streets piled up, injured men, women, and children and destruction surrounding you wherever you look. The 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti Tuesday devastated and destroyed thousands of lives and forced Haitians into scavenging for medical care, food, clean water and shelter.

While many here are horrified by the earthquake disaster in Haiti, for some at Penn Manor, it hit a lot closer to home.

Penn Manor teacher, Scott Hertzog, and his wife, Kristen, recently adopted a little girl, Taicha, 8 years old, from the impoverished country of Haiti and they were relieved to discover her sisters are fine.

For several days they were awaiting news of her birth mother but found out Saturday that Taicha’s birth mother had been outside her home when the earthquake hit and was not hurt.


Taicha’s birth mother has been very involved in her adoption and is considered a family friend. While only making 13 cents an hour, she couldn’t efficiently take care of Taicha and her twin sisters, and had to put them up for adoption.

When the earthquake hit Haiti Tuesday, the already impoverished towns got an even harder blow.

“The Haitians are such beautiful people,” Hertzog said. “And it’s really just painful to see.”

The quake struck on January 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm. The epicenter hit 10 miles west of Porte-au-Prince, and sent about 33 aftershocks ranging from magnitudes of 4.2-5.9, according to CNN news. With about 3 million people in need of emergency aid and also some people still trapped, it is very hard for enough support to be given out.

The Red Cross has dispatched a relief team from Geneva and the UN’s World Food Program is flying in two planes with emergency food aid. Also, the Inter-American Development Bank said it is immediately granting $200,000 for emergency aid. Different relief programs are trying their best to provide money and emergency aid to Haiti and the millions of people in need.

The US is sending 10,000 troops to the coast Haiti to help with the emergency aid according to BBC news. President Obama and former presidents Bush and Clinton have joined together to make a relief effort for Haiti.

Millions of people are injured and homeless and about 40,000 bodies are already buried in graves, but thousands more are believed to be buried under the rubble still. The estimated death toll in Haiti is predicted to be between 100,000 – 200,000 people. According to The Daily Inquirer, many people in Haiti are getting angry and impatient for food and emergency supplies to arrive.

Nations around the world are coming together to help this unfolding tragedy in Haiti and to give a helping hand. Money is being donated in order to provide enough emergency aid even though more is needed. Planes are being flown in with supplies, and troops are stationed in Haiti to help things flow smoothly. Haiti has experienced a nightmare and the United States along with other countries around the world are coming together as one to help the nation of Haiti in need.

Buildings collapsed, schools that have just been built seem to have vanished into thin air. So many Haitians are yet to be discovered, and the Hertzog’s had several tense days anxiously waiting for word of Taicha’s mother.

Taicha's birth mother and twin sisters

When Taicha saw the post disaster Haiti, she had two comments, according to Hertzog. She asked if the children at her old orphanage where okay and if her mother was safe.

When Hertzog first saw the pictures of Haiti, he was devastated.

“I haven’t cried so much in my life,” he admitted.

Taicha’s didn’t want to talk much about her mother before she knew her fate, Hertzog explained, saying she seemed distant.  She told Hertzog’s wife that she doesn’t want to talk about Haiti for awhile.

Hertzog and his wife have been very involved with Haiti for a long time. They run the Connection Network and his wife has traveled there more than a dozen times. The Hertzogs also have many friends who call Haiti their home. And they all are safe, giving them a little bit of hope for Taicha’s mother.

If you want to help the Haitian people, you can go on to www.connection-network.com, or follow them on their Facebook and Twitter.

By Caitlin Blake and Cassey Graeff

8 thoughts on “Haiti’s Heartbreak Hitting Close to Home”

  1. Thanks so much for helping tell our story, which is really the story of many in this devastating crisis. Thanks.

  2. I have personally known the Hertzog family for the past ten years and they are a amazing family. I consider them family, when I got the alert on my phone the night of the earth quake my heart broke in many ways. When your best friends are effected like this its really hard to know what to say or do. The best way to help right now is by giving, you may not have a lot to give but remember that the average Haitian makes $400 a year. that is less than $8 a week or $33.35 a month. So giving even $10 helps. Thanks again to all who are helping. Thomas Dunlap

  3. Taicha is so adorable! Its great to know that famillies here in the US are helping those so far away.

  4. The writers of this article did a good job. I liked how it was an interview but had facts included in the article as well.

  5. I am so glad to see this story in Penn Points – it took my breath away. It gives us such a personal connection to a horrific tragedy that we are watching from so far away. Taicha is one of the lucky ones, having the gift of two caring families. She is beautiful.

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