|About the Book|
Shaken, Not Stirred, Outskirts Press, 2010, is a first-person narrative of the horrific events of January 12, 2010, when a 7.3 earthquake hit the island nation of Haiti. Penned by world-class trumpet player and music educator, Jeanne Pocius, this harrowing tale takes the reader on a journey that will not be soon forgotten.Jeanne begins her story by suggesting, It was just another ordinary day, a Tuesday, the 12th of January, in downtown Centreville (center of the city), Port-au-Prince, Haiti. You just know something of grave portent is coming.What followed was the stuff of nightmares, an effect that psychiatrists ascribe to soldiers having served in combat as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. However, Jeanne Pocius is not a soldier - at least not in a military sense. Rather, St. Jeanne - as the trumpet-playing community affectionately refers to her - is a soldier in service to humanity and to her calling as a Christian missionary. In fact, her presence in Haiti on that fateful day is a testament to her faith and has become something of a destination if not her ultimate destiny in her spiritual journey.The story, though, is not one of preaching or prosthelytizing. It is rather a very personal story that will inevitably leave the reader with images that will haunt them and change their view of what it means to be a member of the global community.Along the way, we meet the adults: Pere David Cesar, the Canon of the Holy Trinity Cathedral and director of the music school - Ecole de Musique Ste Trinite in Port-au-Prince and its annex in Petion Ville- Bishop Jean Zache Duracin - Evecque of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti- Florence Elie, the Protectrix/Ombudsman of the Office of the Citizens in Haiti- Edgard Gaguy Depestre - a professional tenor saxophonist and flautist- and Madame Ismique Lahens, who was in charge of facilities and the school.There are in fact many others who participated in the programs with which Jeanne has been working, including Janet Anthony, the chair of the string faculty at Lawrence University, who had been involved in the programs for many years and Dr. Laennec Hurbon, a skilled musician, philosopher, historian, educator and expert in the rich culture of Haiti.Most importantly, the story is about the children who enriched the lives of all with their eager attentiveness, bright smiles and zest for life. Some survived, many others unfortunately did not. As we discover in the pages that fly past the readers eyes, there were many heroes - young and old - who adorned the days that otherwise constituted the travails of a truly terrible time.Jeanne served in so many roles before, during and since the tremblement. While not formally trained, she is quite knowledgeable in basic medical intervention. During those awful days, Jeanne assumed the mantle of nurse and field medic doing what she could with limited supplies and even more limited training. She ministered to the gravely injured, sick and dying offering her prayers and words of comfort. Ever the teacher, she assumed responsibility for dozens of children separated from their parents and desperate for the consoling visage of this angel of mercy.As one proceeds through the pages, the technical descriptions of the horrific injuries and general conditions are graphically and expertly described. It is clear that those in need of treatment had at least the benefit of a caring and thoughtful lay person, who did the very best anyone could ask of another under such exceptional circumstances.The tale is not yet over, as there is much work left to do - to rebuild the schools, the churches and the shattered lives left behind in the aftermath. Here in this miraculous book, Jeanne Pocius sets out a blueprint for the future. She, along with her wonderful charitable organization, Instrumental Change, Inc., is possessed of a wonderful vision for Haitis future. Undaunted by the horrors of her experience, her indefatigable spirit leads the way as a shining beacon, as the words she so generously shares with all of us lays out for all to follow.This is an important book for all of us to read. It is a cautionary tale of the awesome destructive powers of nature and the indomitable courage of people to adapt and overcome.In the final analysis, we must all answer the call by buying this book, donating our time, our resources and our love as Haiti seeks to rebuild from the rubble and devastation and once again and always stand as a shining jewel in the Caribbean.