< >

Haiti

Estefa Guerda, 35

Haitian internally displaced by the earthquake of 12 January 2010.

I was living in Delmas 32 with my husband and three children in a rented flat when the earthquake happened. We were in the flat when the house started shaking. I fell down on the ground and held onto my children tightly. I didn’t know what an earthquake was. Our building was torn apart but luckily it didn’t collapse. We were still told to leave the building, so we moved out into the street and stayed there for two weeks before moving to a camp.

It was so, so hard. For the first time I understood what it means to live in a community because we had to share everything. When we first arrived we just used our bed sheets for shelter, we had nothing else and had to adapt. This is not a proper life. Can you imagine living under this plastic sheet every day. It’s like an oven under these sheets. As we don’t have any money we just have to stay here for now. Living in a camp can be dangerous – your children are in danger and I’m constantly afraid of rape.

Before the earthquake my husband used to give music lessons but most of his students died in the earthquake. I used to be a teacher and hope I will be again one day, or maybe I’ll do something else.

We have received nothing from the government. Everything we’ve received is from NGOs. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) were the first to arrive and help. I’m a proud Haitian, there’s no place like home. This was just a natural disaster and unfortunately this time it was our turn. Next time it might be someone else’s turn.