Q & A With Briyana Theodore


Briyanna's (not pictured) family currently resides in Haiti, currently distraught by the aftermath of the earthquake | Photo courtesy of Briyanna Theodore '12

Devin Skolnick ‘11
Web Features Editor

Briyanna's (not pictured) family currently resides in Haiti, currently distraught by the aftermath of the earthquake | Photo courtesy of Briyanna Theodore '12

Briyana Theodore ’12 is someone who was directly affected by the earthquake that attacked Haiti.

As she is updated about Haiti’s situation through various news sources, all she can think about is her family’s condition, and what she can do to help those suffering in Haiti. Fortunately, I got the chance to interview her and here’s what she had to say:

Q: What was your initial reaction after hearing the news of the earthquake in Haiti?

A: Immediately, my heart just stopped and skipped a few beats. I had to read the headline a dozen times before I could grasp the situation because at that point, everything just felt unreal. I tried so hard to not believe it, but then I got hope. I thought maybe it was just a fast shake, but by the time I read the details, I had already started crying. I was too overwhelmed by fear, rather then sadness.

Q: How has this impacted your life and the way you view the world?

A: After the earthquake, I rarely ever take things for granted; I’ve never lost so much in the course of one week. I know a lot of people have lost family before, but I never thought I’d be the one to lose all of my family members at once. Every time the phone rings, I jump and get that “butterfly feeling” in my stomach. I saw a construction sight the other day, and I couldn’t even look at it because of all the rubble I saw of a crushed building. I only used to see my family from Haiti on holidays and special occasions, but ever since they’ve passed on, I’ve felt lonely; It’s one of the weirdest and unexplainable feelings. For the first time, I saw my mom cry. I know that time will heal me, but for now, all my family and I can do is hope for the best.

Q: Have you contacted any of your family members who live there?

A: Yes, but it was at least five days after the earthquake. Contacting anyone before that was impossible. The only people we could talk to were our own family members in the United States who had also been worrying about their family in Haiti, and the person who sits by a phone in Haiti making calls to families and giving them the bad news. But overall, I’ve spoke to my family who is still alive from the quake.

Q: Have you done anything to arouse support for Haiti? If so, what have you done?

A: My father’s company, Jeffries&Co., donated about $5-6 million to Haiti. My mom also packed up all my younger brother’s old clothes and anything that I didn’t need, as well as some food, and gave it to a charity that is currently supporting Haiti. Personally, I donated $20 to a Staples bake sale and texted some trusty phone-lines that donated money to the cause.

Q: What do you advise people in the community to do to help?

A: Whatever people do not want, use, or need, they should ship it away to Haiti. Especially good blankets or sleeping bags, there are so many people left homeless and living in tents. They are so desperate that ANYTHING will do. I will be the first one to thank anyone for donating. For all we know, something someone donates can end up straight in the hands of my own relative.