September 26, 2002
My name is Efrain Huaman Carrion and I am a volunteer firefighter in Peru. I’m part of the International American Rescue Team. Today’s date is September 26, 2002. Last year, I volunteered at the World Trade Center after the attacks on the Twin Towers.
My boss, Douglas Copp, called me on the telephone. I work in printing in Peru and am a volunteer firefighter but, in my country, you can’t live on this because we do it for free. My boss called me and I wanted to come the first day but there were no flights. I called various agencies and after 6 days, I was able to get a flight coming here from Peru. You had to come by helicopter or other ways because there were no commercial flights.
I’ve worked in different countries in the area of rescue. Under the direction of Douglas Ko, we’ve worked in places such as India, Turkey, El Salvador, Mexico, California and in El Salvador, Peru, and Colombia after earthquakes. My boss has experience with over 987 rescue actions. I haven’t participated in as many, but I have experience as a firefighter.
I volunteered for more than a month and the experience was unimaginable. More than a year later, I still feel so sad inside and often have nightmares. It’s so sad to think that human beings are capable of such destruction. In this world there are people who build and those who destroy but unfortunately this is how life is.
When the attacks happened, I didn’t think twice about coming to help but I couldn’t get a flight. I was finally able to buy a ticket to come help my brother firefighters and police.
In the work that I do, I don’t see religion, skin color or social status. I am moved by my Christian spirit to help those around me. Spiritually and in my heart, I like to help.
What happened to my brothers and sisters here in New York is so unfortunate and I wanted to do whatever I could to help with all my heart. I would compare what I saw and lived through last year to the Biblical Apocalypse. It’s too sad to describe in words. I can only compare it to the Apocalypse. I pray that something like this will never happen again here or in any other country.
One human being is worth more than all of the gold in the world, more than millions of worlds together. A human being is a marvelous thing, God’s creation and I hope nothing like this ever happens again. We have to respect, love and help others and come together.
We should try to spend time with our parents and brothers and sisters. Sometimes we spend time with our friends and neighbors but we forget to spend time with our families and we realize this too late. We take advantage of all the things in our lives. Those who are married and have children, who have brothers and sisters living close by, should give them their affection, time, and love.
And all I have to say to my brother firefighters, police, and civilians, including the President, Mr. Giuliani (the Mayor of NY), and the Governor is that I wish, with all my heart, that God blesses you and gives you the strength to move forward and that this pain is reparable. I know, in my heart, that behind all of this, God is demonstrating his love and strength and that you, our North American friends, sisters and brothers, most of all those in New York, will move forward and that this country will grow five times stronger than it is now.
My wish and my heartfelt thoughts are that God blesses you. I, Efrain Huaman Carrion, Peruvian firefighter, wish this for you.
(In English) I love you New York. I love you people of New York. Thank you very much.
- Translation by Sherry Kane