Haitians Mark One Month Since Deadly Quake

One month after the massive earthquake that killed an estimated 200,000 people and left more than a million homeless, Haiti has united as a nation to mourn. A three-day period of mourning began Friday, with praying and singing taking the place of what normally would have been pre-Lenten Carnival partying.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. It has been a month since a devastating earthquake struck Haiti. More than 200,000 people have died, with more than a million left homeless. And now, the country has drawn together for three days of national mourning. NPR's Richard Harris is there in Port-au-Prince.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Woman #1: (Singing in foreign language)

RICHARD HARRIS: In Haiti, mourning doesn't happen quietly.

(Soundbite of music)

HARRIS: At dawn, thousands of Haitians left their homes, or more commonly, the piece of ground they are calling home, for the city center, dressed mostly in black and white, rather than their usual bright colors. This is the first of what promises to be three days of singing, praying and mourning.

Sister Jeaneau Brutus(ph) was one of the first speakers. She's become a celebrity because she tells people God warned her of the quake back in 2008.

Sister JEANEAU BRUTUS: (Speaking foreign language)

HARRIS: Jeaneau blames Haiti's situation on idol worship and begs her country to return to God. It's a somewhat off-key message on a day of mourning that was an interfaith event that includes voodoo practitioners, who make up about a third of the population, but nobody seems to care.

Unidentified People: (Singing in foreign language)

HARRIS: The days of prayer and mourning are also supposed to be days of fasting. Going without food is, unfortunately, not a change of pace for many people in Haiti. In fact, women form a long rice line along the back of the plaza. And the crowd doesn't seem to take much stock in the seer's next prediction. She says Haiti will have seven years of prosperity and will soon be producing food for the world. Richard Harris, NPR News, Port-au-Prince.

Unidentified People: (Singing in foreign language)

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