Almost immediately I found him on a tribute site on Facebook. I traced it back to the start of the thread. Before I read forwards I knew what had happened. Greg worked for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States as an inspector of planes. Considering the job he did I was surprised he hated travel. He was far more at home with his circle of friends in Antigua. But he had been forced to go to Haiti for a workshop and he stayed at the Hotel Montana. The earthquake occurred while he was there. As I read the posts on the Facebook page the story with all its emotion unfurled. First there were the post trying to find him, and ask for any help. Then as the days go by there was the support to the search and rescue teams who were battling to dig into the rubble of the hotel. Then the desperation as nothing was found well beyond the time you would expect anyone to realistically survive, and finally the moment when a body with identifiable markings was brought out.
And then the posts became about the tributes to a wonderful man, a great colleague, a fine friend. The details of the memorial service, links to the newspapers in Antigua and Trinidad. And more comments came.
To find this over two and a half years after the event was a devastating blow. To know such a warm, friendly human being, and realised how much I’d taken his presence for granted. To know his life was taken away in a moment, or maybe in such a painful, horrific way I cannot imagine. Another friend I wanted to grow old with.
My time in Haiti was punctuated with the loss of two great comrades, and for that I shall always be saddened. My time in Haiti was also a tense time with having to be constantly on guard, often confined and with the pressure of a quick contract to deliver. Still through that I saw a resilient people, a fiery creativity growing from the heartland of this crazy capital city, and still the elements of all good Caribbean living in its rural areas. Its future will be difficult, may not go exactly to plan, but it inevitably has to have a future, and an independent character that will see it on for many hundreds of years to come.
And personally, well , I still have the glorious memories of my good friends.