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'It sounds like thunder in the earth'

Church group recounts Haiti effort

Lex and Renee Edme, directors of the Mission of Hope facility in Grande-Goave, Haiti, sit with residents, volunteers and staff in the ruins of their orphanage after the Jan. 13 earthquake. Sturbridge’s Stuart Rankin is second from right. Courtesy photo. (click for larger version)
February 07, 2010
STURBRIDGE — For many people, living in a foreign country is challenging enough, never mind getting trapped by an earthquake in a third country.

But that's what Maike and Timo Kraft experienced with last month's destructive Haiti quake.

"The earth opened up everywhere. There were huge cracks," Maike (pronounced "Mica") Kraft said. "… We could see chunks of the mountains missing" afterward.

The two of them, sister and brother, respectively, are German, but were in and near Grande Goave, Haiti, working with Sturbridge Worship Center and its Mission of Hope effort alongside Bay State residents Stuart Rankin, Chris With and others.

When the quake hit about 4:45 p.m. on Jan. 13, the group had only recently returned to their base, a church/orphanage in the small city which sits about 15 miles from the epicenter. But less than half an hour before that, they said, they had been out in closer villages of the nearby mountains.

"The road we'd just traveled 15 minutes earlier was full of these pickup-truck-sized boulders [the next day]," Rankin said. "It was kind of surreal trying to process it, having never been in an earthquake before. You could hear the vibrations in the distance, coming closer. … It sounds like thunder in the earth."

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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