ALBANY -- The impact of the powerful earthquake that hit Haiti earlier in the week has gone far beyond the country's political boundaries, even into Southwest Georgia's backyard.
While he was living in Haiti, Herns Mesamours, 29, was working for a nonprofit organization. He was granted asylum into the United States in 2007, and this semester, he started studying management at Albany State University. He has kept regular contact with his family members still living in his home country.
"They can't call me and I can't call them," he told reporters Friday. "I don't know information about them. I don't know if they are dead or alive. I've tried to e-mail them ... no response."
Mesamours expressed deep concern for his family and also for his country and the impact the disaster will have on the people living there.
"I know it's a poor country already, and after the situation we will have more problems," he said. "I'm very worried about my family, but I'm very worried also about my country."
Recovery for the nation may take a long-term effort and require a number of people, the Haitian native said.
"We won't fix everything in one or two years; we will need 10 to 20 years," Mesamours said. "After the situation, we will need help to rebuild the country."
While the monetary aid coming in helps, it will take more than just cash to make the problem go away, he said.
"The money helps, but we need human resources," Mesamours said.
In a letter written by Mesamours, he expresses the need for other countries to continue to stand beside Haiti in its time of need.
The letter reads in part: "Dear brothers and sisters, Haiti is the poorest country of America, we need Prayer first, which can help the Haitian leaders to have a spirit of understanding, know-how in order to rebuild the country, our schools are destroyed, our hospitals, our streets, our markets, our churches, home of the presidency are destroyed by the earthquake.
"Everyone loses a loved one. In every city people are crying. From time to time you hear somebody is missing or found dead. But at the same time it's a time of joy to see how people are concerned. USA is the big champion. But it is the whole world that stands (be)side Haiti in this time of despair. I love that. Tx everyone."
Mesamours takes classes at the university four days a week. He resided in Florida for one year and currently lives in the area with his wife and 5-year-old son. He plans to eventually get a master's degree