Courtesy of Amelia Shaw
I was four months pregnant, sitting at my desk in the United Nations office in Port-au-Prince, when my world changed. It was nearly 5 p.m., but I was in no rush to leave because my husband, Eduardo, was in Italy, training for a U.N. security job.
I heard a thunderous noise. Then the room was vibrating, and the walls were swinging. I wondered, "Should I hide under the desk? Run outside?" Everything around me was plunging -- bookcases, computers. I tried desperately to shield my belly as I, too, fell to the floor and pieces of the ceiling crashed down around me. Then my officemate grabbed me by the only thing he could reach, my ponytail, and dragged me down the front steps of the building.
Outside, I knelt on all fours on the pavement, which was still heaving. The sun was setting and the air was thick with dust, but I could see that the six-story U.N. building had collapsed. I realized I was listening to tens of thousands of people screaming. It sounded like Armageddon.