News / Americas

Haiti Quake Survivors Cope with Physical, Emotional Scars

Alex Villarreal

Thousands of Haitians sought refuge in the United States after the devastating earthquake in Haiti last year.  Many suffered unimaginable trauma and bear both physical and emotional scars.

For the Jean family, life together is a blessing.

“Because we were in [the] face of death.  That’s the work of God, because we are alive,” Stevenson Jean says.

Stevenson lived through Haiti's earthquake with his mother and six siblings.

His father, Jean Claude, was in Miami, working to support them.

“I call my family, the phone, the phone is dead,” he recalls.

All are safe now, but life still is not easy.

Marie-Rolle Jean
Marie-Rolle Jean

“We had many difficulties after the earthquake. I had two children hurt in the quake and myself," explains Marie-Rolle, Jean Claude's wife.

And with another child on the way, the Jeans also struggle financially.

“$400 per week.  Not enough for my family,” Jean Claude says.

To help cope, they rely on faith.  Emmanuel Zizi is the pastor at Worshipers' House of Prayer in Miami.

“All of us have the same problems, so this is really, we help each other carry our burdens,” the pastor notes.

Another group helping quake victims is Haitian Women of Miami, a social services agency for immigrants known as FANM.  Marleine Bastien founded the group.

“These victims, they go through a lot.  A lot of them need housing, they need to move, they need access to school,” she explains.

Nerline Cajuste
Nerline Cajuste

Nerline Cajuste came to FANM for help applying for health care aid.  She had hip replacement surgery after suffering injuries in the quake.

"After the surgery, I have a blood clot.  Now I feel pain, I feel pain in my leg.  I cannot walk good now," Nerline says.

The pain is not just physical.

"It makes me sad," Nerline adds.

"250,000 people died.  These people, they are traumatized," notes Marlene Bastien.

When Brutus Michel relives the earthquake, he remembers his wife.

"Her heart was beating so fast, that she died 12 days later," he explains.

Michel says moving in with family in the U.S. has helped him cope.

It's a daily battle all too familiar to Claude Cyntia Riou. She shares her story with the help of a translator.

"This picture is the last picture that I took of him," she says, holding a photo of her son.

Riou had just picked up eight-year-old Tonton from school when the earthquake hit.

"When I saw his feet out of the car, I said 'Oh my God, Tonton died.'"

Riou says she relives that moment every day.

"I’m laughing, I talk, but it’s not me.  I’m here, but not really," she says.

But with the help of her other children and her faith...Riou, like other survivors, carries on.

"For me, Tonton is not dead," Riou says.


You May Like

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Powerful Hurricane Threatens Mexico's Baja California

US forecasters have downgraded Odile to strong Category 3 storm, with top sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour
More

Hard-hitting Films Tackle Homelessness at Toronto Festival

'Time Out of Mind,' 'Shelter,' and 'Heaven Knows What' all focus on characters struggling with homelessness, addiction on the streets of New York
More

After Tax Reform Triumph, Chile's President Faces Rockier Road

'Honeymoon' may be over for Michelle Bachelet as protests rise and economy, security outlook worsen
More

Mexico: Texas Governor's Border Deployment Politically Motivated

Rick Perry says he is sending up to 1,000 troops to Mexican border to deter criminal activity caused by drug cartels
More

Video Authorities Allege Ties Between LA Fashion Industry, Cartels

Officials say the LA fashion industry has attracted drug money since the Mexican government tightened restrictions on cash transfers
More

Brazil Confirms Amazon Deforestation Sped Up in 2013

Destruction of world's largest rainforest accelerated last year with a 29 percent spike, figures confirm a reversal in gains seen since 2009
More