Quantcast

Provo woman's husband OK, others relatives' conditions unknown in Haiti

Published: Thursday, Sept. 3 2015 5:38 a.m. MDT

Wilda Jean Baptiste looks over pictures of relatives she has that are still in Haiti Friday. (Jason Olson, Deseret News) Wilda Jean Baptiste looks over pictures of relatives she has that are still in Haiti Friday. (Jason Olson, Deseret News)

PROVO — He's alive.

Although Wilda Jean Baptiste felt joy and relief when her husband contacted her Friday morning from Haiti, the euphoria was small in comparison to her worry.

Baptiste still has countless other relatives in Haiti, few of whom have been reached.

"I feel like I'm in a dream," the mother of two said at her home in Provo. "I'm in a nightmare, and I can't wake up."

Baptiste has spent $125 on phone cards, trying to contact relatives and relief organizations in Haiti. Her daughter, Ashley, 14, placed photos of relatives on MySpace on the Web. But Baptiste has yet to speak with anyone except her husband.

"He didn't have much to say," she said. "He said, 'I'm OK. I'm alive,' said hi to (his 10-year-old son, Shemar) and (that) if he had the strength, he would go looking for his brother and stepfather."

Wilda Jean Baptiste looks over pictures of relatives she has that are still in Haiti Friday. (Jason Olson, Deseret News) Wilda Jean Baptiste looks over pictures of relatives she has that are still in Haiti Friday. (Jason Olson, Deseret News)

Then the line died.

"I didn't even get a chance to ask where he was," Baptiste said.

Her husband, Mario Baptiste, has been in Haiti for two years after being deported from Utah for identity and Social Security fraud. He had been in the United States with his family since he was 7 years old.

His immigration paperwork is ready. All he needs to return to Utah is a visa. But after the earthquake, his wife doesn't know if he will make it to his Jan. 27 embassy appointment.

"I don't even know if we'll even have any more immigration," she said.

Her mother may be injured, ill or dead, as she was seriously ill and about to be admitted to the general hospital hours before the earthquake. Now, the hospital is nothing more than rubble.

Baptiste hasn't heard from any of the 17 children who were living with her mother in a two-room apartment in Delmas.

And all Baptiste, an out-of-work certified nursing assistant, wants to do is help in her home country.

"I'm not a nurse, but I could do IVs," she said. "If they have a group going, I want to go. I will leave my kids with my brother. I don't know what to do. I just want to go."

For now, Baptiste waits and prays. She worries for the relief workers' safety, as well as that of her family.

"My whole generation is there," she said. "I'm hoping for more news."

e-mail: eteichert@desnews.com

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company