Shawnee Family Returns Home from Haiti

Friday, January 15th 2010, 11:43 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -- A Shawnee family is thankful to be back home after living in what seemed to be a nightmare for several days.

The Lilite family arrived at Will Rogers World Airport Friday night from Haiti.

"We were really concerned if we would be able to get them out," said their friend Johnny Cullison.

Dr. Louima Lilite is an associate professor of music at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. He was in Haiti to work on his North Haiti Music Camp, about four hours away from Port Au Prince, when the earthquake struck.

"I've never experienced something that strong. I went through earthquakes when I lived in California. None of them were like this," Lilite said.

The fact that the shaking was so intense hours away from the earthquake's core worried Lilite instantly. Lilite grew up in Port Au Prince and still has family and friends who live there.

"My sister is okay, but she doesn't have much food left and there is nowhere to get food. She may be alive, but now her life is threatened by the lack of basic necessities," Lilite said.

Lilite has also been informed his cousin is presumed dead and his cousin's wife lost both her legs.

"Losing family members, losing friends, mentors and loved ones, it hits you, and I know I will never be the same," Lilite said.

Because Lilite grew up in Port Au Prince, he said he feels compelled to do more for his hometown. Now his North Haiti Music Camp is partnering with the Haiti Hope Fund to help relief efforts.