Blog Entry

Dalembert awaits news from devastated homeland

Posted on: January 13, 2010 4:06 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2010 4:58 pm
 
As the horrifying images are transmitted home from his native Haiti, a piece of Samuel Dalembert’s heart breaks. The people of Haiti are resilient, he says. But even the most optimistic part of his soul, beneath the deep voice and accent, can’t help but wonder how much one country can take.

A native of Port-au-Prince, which has been leveled by a massive earthquake that has relief officials fearing more than 100,000 dead, Dalembert spent much of his time Wednesday waiting for his cell phone to ring. It does, but none of the calls originate from his impoverished homeland.

“I am just waiting,” the Philadelphia 76ers center said in a phone interview Wednesday. “Just waiting.”

Five hours after the magnitude 7.0 quake hit Tuesday, Dalembert received word from his aunt. Good news; bittersweet and yet blissfully good news. His father, 16-year-old sister, and 15-year-old brother had survived the quake. His father, a government worker there, had emailed Dalembert's aunt to say that he and his children had survived.

But all Dalembert can do is wait helplessly for word from the families and friends he grew up with. All he can do is raise awareness through the Samuel Dalembert Foundation and let people know they can donate to relief efforts through his site and through UNICEF. With Olden Polynice, Dalembert is believed to be only the second player born in Haiti to play in the NBA.

“They can contribute to whatever charity they feel comfortable, and most importantly, keep everybody in your prayers,” Dalembert said. “Hopefully, we can do something.”

Aside from those killed or trapped in the disaster, the next challenge is the massive humanitarian crisis that looms as relief organizations and world governments try to get food, water, and medical supplies to the impoverished country. This after a series of hurricanes and storms have repeatedly devastated Haiti in recent years, leaving a country where more than half the citizens live in abject poverty reeling even more.

“They have too much resilience sometimes,” Dalembert said. “It can be our downfall. We’re a lovable people. We always make fun of bad situations, we live through tough times and we always have hope that we get out of it. That’s the kind of people we are. We fought our independence for over 200 years. We’re hard-working people, too, but there’s no opportunity for us to move forward. We make the best of things.”

Now, Haiti must try to endure what officials are calling the strongest earthquake to hit the region in 200 years. The facts about Haiti’s cruel fate can be found right there on Dalembert’s web site: Approximately 80 percent of Haitians are unemployed, there is one hospital for every 100,000 people, and about 280,000 people there are living with HIV/AIDS.

Now this crisis surely will eclipse the country’s already tragic record of natural disasters that includes Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 (about 3,000 dead), Hurricane Gordon in 1994 (more than 1,000 dead), and Hurricane Flora in 1963 (more than 8,000 dead).

“It’s just chaotic over there,” Dalembert said. “I can’t imagine what the people are going through. I can’t imagine that.”
Category: NBA
Comments

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: January 14, 2010 11:36 am
 

Dalembert awaits news from devastated homeland

If there is one country that didn't need this, it's Haiti. Thoughts and prayers with everyone there and mucho respect to Dalembert for whatever help he can give. Glad to hear his family is okay.



Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: January 14, 2010 11:15 am
 

Dalembert awaits news from devastated homeland

It's irrelevant his nationality when you consider his father and siblings are in Haiti... I believe that was the point. I can't imagine what's going through his head.  Best wishes to him and all those affected by this tragedy.



Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: January 14, 2010 7:41 am
 

Dalembert awaits news from devastated homeland


Dalembert is Canadian.
Yes, and he's also Haitian. He was born and lived a couple years in Haiti before going to Canada. He didn't become a Canadian citizen until 2007.




Since: Aug 12, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2010 10:02 pm
 

Dalembert awaits news from devastated homeland

Dalembert is Canadian.



Since: Dec 6, 2008
Posted on: January 13, 2010 9:11 pm
 

Dalembert awaits news from devastated homeland

God bless Haiti...



Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2010 7:49 pm
 

Dalembert awaits news from devastated homeland

Puts everything in perspective.



Since: Mar 7, 2008
Posted on: January 13, 2010 6:38 pm
 

Dalembert awaits news from devastated homeland

Our prayers are with everyone in haiti and Sam Dalembert



Since: Mar 7, 2008
Posted on: January 13, 2010 6:36 pm
 

Our prayers are with every one in haite




Since: Aug 22, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2010 4:56 pm
 

Dalembert awaits news from devastated homeland

Its horrible that this type of stuff happen but its nature, and we have no control over that. At least he knows that his family is safe and sound. I hope theres more good news for the other families over there in Haiti. 


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com