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UVa. Student Remains Stranded in Haiti, Waits to Return

By: Bianca Spinosa Email
By: Bianca Spinosa Email

January 15, 2010

Claudelle Gehy is trapped in Haiti with very little food and water. Her family is forced to live on their front yard. But the worst part for Gehy is the loss she's grappling with.

She recently learned her best friend, Stephanie Jean-Charles, is among the earthquake victims.

Gehy and Jean-Charles did everything together. Both from Haiti, and both University of Virginia students, they were by each other's side when they walked the lawn.

"She was very involved with the black community at UVa and also with UVa itself," Gehy said. "She always remembered your name and face, always had a smile, always ready to say hi. Very smart -- she wanted to be a lawyer, you know."

The earthquake shattered those plans. Jean-Charles died in the earthquake that struck the island Tuesday.

"It's like you're alive but you don't even know if it's a good thing or bad thing," Gehy said. "I don't even have the words to describe it, honestly."

Gehy is a graduate student at the McIntire School of Commerce at UVa She was supposed to fly back to Charlottesville yesterday, but all flights have been canceled. Now, she doesn't know when she can get back to school.

Gehy said she was at home when the earthquake struck.

"I just went inside the house, and I felt the house trembling just a little bit at first because I thought it was just a truck going by the road," she said. "But then, it just got so hard, shaking. I was under the door and I honestly thought the house was going to fall on me because it was going back and forth, back and forth."

Everyone in Gehy's immediate family escaped the house, but she is still unsure about her relatives. Because of the aftershocks, the Gehys are afraid to go back inside. At night, they sleep in the car.

"I'm seeing the people. They're just hungry and thirsty and they have nothing," she said. "A few people came to my house and said, 'We lost everything, we're hungry.'"

Gehy said she has enough food, water and supplies to survive right now, but she doesn't know how long they will last.

Click on the photos tab above to see a slideshow of pictures Gehy has taken from outside her home in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. She has internet connection, and was able to send the Newsplex photos of her harrowing experience.


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