The Day the Earth Shook

After the earth shook, the nurses held steady. Evens Joicin speaks about the days following the 2010 earthquake in Leogane, Haiti

By Susan Baller-Shepard

Evens Joicin was a nursing student at *FSIL nursing school when the 2010 earthquake hit Leogane, Haiti. It’s estimated that 80-90% of the buildings in Leogane were destroyed, and 5,000 refugees arrived on the nursing school grounds, to seek help and medical care. Since Leogane was cut off from other parts of Haiti after the earthquake, and the local hospital had been closed for two years, the nursing students did all they could to save lives and comfort those who came.  They set up 10 first aid stations throughout the destroyed town. Evens talks about being alongside those who were injured, those grieving lost family members, and comforting those seeking solace after the earthquake. 

This is what compassion is all about, like Karen Armstrong defines in her book Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. “Compassion,” she writes, derives Latin and Greek “meaning'to suffer, undergo, or experience.' So 'compassion' means 'to endure [something] with another person, to put ourselves in somebody else's shoes, to feel her pain as though it were our own, and to enter generously into his point of view." (p.9) As Armstrong defines compassion “as an attitude of principled, consistent altruism,” (p.9), so too Evens and the other nurses offered themselves generously after the earthquake, providing care for their neighbors in need. Listen to this interview with Evens and his definition of compassion.

*The nursing school is called the Faculty of Nursing Science of the Episcopal University of Haiti;  

Contact person:Evens Joicin, 28, Rue Georges Kernisant, Leogane, HT6210, Haiti; phone: 509-3770-1567