Story

Cynthia in Haiti: After the Earthquake

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Cynthia Desert, 13, and her mother outside their home, a tent camp in Port-au-Prince. Image by Kem Knapp Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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The earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. Today one half million Haitians still live in tents. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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The earthquake killed over 200,000 people and left one million homeless. Image by Kem Knapp Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Rebuilding after the earthquake has been a slow process. Image by Kem Knapp Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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The camp where Cynthia lives is crowded—with tents crammed one next to the other. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Cynthia's mother outside her home at the tent camp with St. Anne's Church in the background. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Cynthia's family cooks on a small charcoal grill inside the tent. Image by Kem Knapp Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Cynthia's mother inside her home. The family sleeps on the floor and stores their belongings in plastic tubs. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Cynthia's brother Ernso lives outside Port-au-Prince, but often comes to visit.

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Cynthia and her parents attend St. Anne's Church next to the camp—and sing in the church choir. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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St. Anne's Church is where Cynthia's parents first met 30 years ago. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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The church was destroyed in the earthquake; the congregation now worships in an open-air shelter next door. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Cynthia avoids using the camp latrine whenever possible. Every morning she goes across the street to a friend's house where she can use the outdoor shower. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Cynthia's mother buys breakfast from a street vendor outside the camp. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Cynthia has bread, water and coffee with milk for breakfast. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Cynthia changes into her school uniform and her mother helps fix her hair. Image by Kem Knapp Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Ready for school, Cynthia says good-by to her mother. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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On the way to school Cynthia passes street vendors setting up shop. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Brightly painted mini-buses, called tap-taps, whiz by. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Cynthia attends a public school for girls, l'Ecole Nationale Republique du Chili. The school is named for Chile because this country donated the money for the school. The original building was destroyed in the earthquake and was closed for three months. It has since been rebuilt. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Cynthia arrives at school early—7 a.m.— so she will have time to play with her friends. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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Cynthia's 6th grade class meets from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. with a break for lunch, Tuesdays through Friday. On Mondays 6th graders stay in school until 6 p.m. Cynthia studies two languages—French and Creole—math, civics, history, science and geography. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

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At the morning assembly students say the pledge of allegiance and sing both the national anthem and a hymn. Image by Jon Sawyer. Haiti, 2012.

Cynthia Desert lives in a tent camp near St. Anne's Church in Port-au-Prince. On school days she wakes up at 5:30 a.m. to prepare for school—using the outdoor shower of a neighbor across the street. She likes to get to school early so she has time to play with her friends. Cynthia attends l'Ecole Nationale Republique du Chili, a school that was closed for three months after the earthquake but has now been rebuilt.