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Author Mitch Albom Tells CBN of Harrowing Escape from Haiti in Dark of Night

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Author Mitch Albom Tells CBN of Harrowing Escape from Haiti in Dark of Night

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Bestselling author Mitch Albom, known for blockbuster books like “Tuesdays with Morrie,” “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” and “The Stranger in the Lifeboat,” was among those forced to flee from Haiti in the dead of night after the nation descended into sheer chaos.

Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”

Albom was visiting Have Faith Haiti, an orphanage run by him and his wife, Janine, when Haiti’s government collapsed.

Suddenly, the author and his wife were among the Americans trapped with no way out.

With violence flaring, Albom, Janine, and eight others were granted an emergency airlift Tuesday out of the beleaguered country — an exit independently coordinated by Rep. Cory Mills (R-Fla.) after U.S. government sources failed to help Albom, and the politician acted alone.

Recounting the details in an interview with CBN News, Albom said he and the group were forced to flee in a helicopter in the dead of night.

“It was pretty clear that, if we were going to find a way out, we were going to have to do it independently,” he said, after explaining outreach to the U.S. government didn’t go anywhere. “We began to explore those options.”

Watch the author explain:

Albom, who cares for 60 children and has 40 staff at the orphanage, is in touch with the orphans and staff all day via FaceTime and other technologies.

He said the chaos unfolding in Haiti can still be heard during those calls.

“When we do our nightly devotions, you can hear all the gunfire in the background,” he said. “It’s such a juxtaposition. It doesn’t make sense. You know, they’re singing these beautiful songs to God about being grateful for what they have … but, out in the street, [there is] rapid-fire machine gun kind of fire.”

Albom continued, “It’s a shame that they have to live with this.”

While the author’s fame and accolades are mostly tied to his books, Albom’s real passion is his work helping orphans in Haiti.

“[The orphanage] takes up the bulk of my existence,” Albom said in a past interview. “I know most people know me as a writer, but my average week is consumed a lot more with operating the orphanage and I’m there every month, and it’s the most important thing and most gratifying thing that I do.”

Albom said his life-changing work in Haiti began after the devastating 2010 earthquake, which killed 220,000-300,000 people and displaced 1.5 million others. At the time, the author accompanied a U.S. pastor to Haiti who needed to check on an orphanage he lost contact with during the tragedy.

The author said he was immediately captivated by what he encountered in the earthquake-ravaged country.

“I was so taken with the kids, and their attitude, and their positivity, and their joy, despite the fact that they had nothing,” Albom said.

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Recognizing the dire nature of the situation in Haiti after the earthquake, Albom started to go back and forth and bring people from Detroit who could help — plumbers, roofers, contractors, and others.

They started working on the orphanage, installing toilets, showers and a kitchen, among other needs. But that was only the beginning, as Albom soon became more involved than he could have ever imagined.

“I ended up taking over the operations … which I’ve now run for [nearly] 12 years,” he said. “I’m there every month.”

Find out more about Albom’s orphanage here.

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