Four years ago, Marguerite Berthold was standing in her yard in Port-au-Prince when the earth began to shake. She ran into her house and went up to her porch. Her house collapsed but the porch remained standing and she survived.
She spent the next two days searching for her son and fervently praying. Eventually she found him alive but with two broken legs.
On Sunday, Berthold and her son, Wongaton Villace, now 15, attended a special church service in Mattapan focused on remembering those who died and offering thanks for those who survived.
Four years after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, left roughly 230,000 dead, hundreds of thousands more injured, and more than a million homeless, about 50 people — many of whom were in Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010 — gathered at First Christian Church Source of Grace on Blue Hill Avenue on Sunday morning.
Conducted in Haitian Creole, French, and English and infused with ecstatic singing, the service was joyful, but also intertwined with grief.
“A lot of our family fell,” said the Rev. Jean Jeune as he began the 2½-hour service.
“We have a lot of suffering in our soul, in our spirit, in our heart,” he said in remarks that were translated into English for a reporter who attended.
The congregation, packed into two rooms on the second floor of an office building, later joined their voices in a song proclaiming their faithfulness.
Backed by keyboard, an electric bass guitar, drums, and an accordion, many of the congregants closed their eyes and raised their hands above their head. Some cried.
“Four years ago, if it wasn’t for God, a lot of us would not be here,” Jeune said before another song began. He encouraged celebration of the blessings that had been bestowed but repeatedly recognized the struggle many of his congregants had endured since 2010.
“Four years of suffering” from the loss and trauma and memories of the devastating tragedy, he said. Read more here: