STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
NPR's Jason Beaubien has now rotated out of Haiti, but Haiti has not left him. He sent us this reporter's notebook about some of the people he met.
JASON BEAUBIEN: For me, the hardest part is the living. There have been so many dead here, corpses are so common both on the street and oozing out of the wreckage, that it's the living who haunt me: The old man crumpled at the curb calling out faintly, mon blanc, mon blanc, and asking for water - the crush wounds, the children who've lost or are about to lose an arm, a leg or both, the bodies laid out at night like cordwood on the street, lines of people wrapped in sheets perpendicular to the curb, sleeping on the pavement because either their house is gone or they're too terrified to go inside.
BEAUBIEN: mother, father, sister, cousin. It's just me now, she says, 22 years old and alone. Another woman says there isn't a single family in Haiti that isn't crying right now. She's trying to dig her brother- in-law's body out of a pile of debris.
There's the fear of being inside. Walking with my translator through her old neighborhood, her nervousness that any teetering building might crash down on us at any moment. An aftershock shakes the rubble under our feet. She runs for solid ground.
What is it like to watch your entire city crumble around you? Walls, roofs meant to protect you become projectiles, blunt instruments, traps. How do you ever go back inside?
A huge challenge lies ahead just to feed and house the people of Haiti in the coming weeks. Then, block after city block needs to be bulldozed. But for Haiti to be reborn, and to avoid becoming a wasteland kept alive on international aid, the living need to heal. They need to dream of a new country and move forward.
Jason Beaubien, NPR News.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: This is NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.