In my head I said to God, ‘If you save me, I will be your servant. I will glorify your name’


 

Wismond Exantus, rescued by a French search and rescue team after being trapped in rubble for 11 days in the aftermath of the massive earthquake, lies in a French military hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010.

Haitian Wismond Exantus Jean-Pierre, 24, was found on Saturday after 12 days buried beneath the wreckage of a hotel and food store in the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince. His brother had heard him tapping beneath the rubble, and tapped back. Doctors expect him to make a full recovery. He told his story to the BBC’s Orla Guerin.

 

I was in the fruit shop, on the ground floor. I felt that I had a very slim chance of being found. All those days I was down there knocking and yelling, and no-one heard me.
As a stroke of luck from God, only yesterday my brother heard me knocking on the plywood and found me. I said, ‘It’s me. I’m under the store,’ and my brother and my friend went to get help.

The rescuers came and brought tools and a saw, and that made me very happy. They were as tired as I was. They were shaking things to get me out.

My mother loves me a lot, and if I had died she would have died right after me. I’m very grateful to be alive. I pray to God to bless the rescuers.

For all those days I was searching for my cellphone. I couldn’t move much.

Then I found a case of cola, and potato chips. I stumbled across them and I said, ‘OK, now I can live for one more day.’ If I’m alive it’s because of those things.

In my head I said to God, ‘If you save me, I will be your servant. I will glorify your name’.

I didn’t know how long I had been there. I didn’t know if it was night or day. I thought I had been there for five or six days. Finally, I understood it had been 12 days.

There were others trapped with me.

There was the owner of the hotel, one of his sons and a cousin.

There were two women on the first floor, one doing the cooking and the other doing the laundry.

After the collapse I heard noise, but after a while it stopped. I was calling the people who were there, but none replied. I don’t know if they were alive.

I hope that search operations will continue because a lot of people lost hope that I could survive after 12 days, and they found me.

If I am alive, there are others alive. If they had given up on me, I wouldn’t be here today. I would have been dead in two or three days.

All the time I spent under the rubble, I had a splitting headache and I felt a bit stiff. The doctors gave me some pills for that, and now I feel great.

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