EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 14, 2010

Local Haitians wait and worry

(Continued)

Student's 15 siblings missing

Islande Baptiste said she has "not a clue" about the well-being of 15 brothers and sisters who live in Haiti. Baptiste, a Malden resident who attends Northern Essex Community College and aspires to become a registered nurse, told The Eagle-Tribune she has called countless phone numbers to find out about her loved ones. So far, she has learned nothing. She can't get through.

"I have to get in touch with them. I've been calling since last night," she said. "I try really hard."

Baptiste already knows that the hospital in Port-au-Prince, where she was born almost 40 years ago, was leveled. When she saw the image of a man holding a baby, she said, "I was crying. That's what's happening now."

Baptiste, who lives with her husband and son, has been in the United States for 20 years and is now an American citizen. She has worked as a medical assistant in several hospitals, she said, and she also knows sign language for the deaf. She said she has gone on missionary trips to help deaf people in Haiti.

Baptiste's mother is deceased. Her father lives in the United States. A brother who lives in America, she said, plans to fly to Haiti on Friday to find out about the rest of their family.

It's 'killing me'

Paul "Alex" Louis hopes his mother, sister and many friends are alive and well in the Port-Au-Prince area.

"We keep trying to call. ... But all we know right now is what CNN is telling us," said Louis, a certified nurse's assistant at Mary Immaculate Nursing/Restorative Center in Lawrence. "We keep watching and waiting but we haven't had any contact."

Adding to his anguish are the images of devastation flashed on TV and the Internet. "It's gut-wrenching," he said.

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