Thats all it took for Handel Estivenes world to crumble around him.
When it happened, Mr. Estivene didnt know if he had been in a car wreck or if a bomb had been detonated. All he knew is the ground was shaking. Buildings were falling around him, and everything turned white with the dust from debris.
It took a moment to realize he had been in an earthquake, one of the most destructive ever.
That was Jan. 12, 2010 outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It registered 7 on the Richter scale and was responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 people. More than 300,000 were estimated to have been injured, and approximately 1.5 million people were displaced.
Thirty-five seconds felt like 35 hours, Mr. Estivene said. It happened so fast, but you were without control. You dont know if the ground is going to open up. You dont know if that building is going to fall on you. You just had to wait. And you didnt know when it was going to end. Then came the aftershocks. And more aftershocks.
Mr. Estivene was only 15 at the time, but his family made the hard decision to send him to America alone, knowing it would ...