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Seeking refuge

Haiti earthquake survivors seek refuge outside Port-au-Prince

Rescue workers from the Dominican Republic unsuccessfully search for a woman in the rubble of a bank.
Rescue workers from the Dominican Republic unsuccessfully search for a woman in the rubble of a bank. (Carol Guzy/the Washington Post)
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ten people arrived Monday night from Port-au-Prince at Anne Jeanpierre's orphanage in Pignon. They could not stay in the city, they said, because they had nothing and nowhere to go. She gave them food, water and a place to sleep. She had just gotten back herself.

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When the earthquake hit, she was in the capital with one of the older girls from her orphanage, paying the girl's rent and tuition at nursing school.

Then, "Boom!" she said, widening her eyes, flashing her hands open and finishing with a squeal. She and the girl broke a third-story window to get out.

"Nowhere to go down, stairs all collapsed. We jump out," she said in a quiet field in Pignon, the sun rising behind her and making the tall grass glow pink. A small boy rubbed his head against her belly, and she put her hand on his back.

They spent two nights in the street in Port-au-Prince, hurt and scared, then found a tap-tap, a local bus, to safety in Pignon. The first of many, she thinks. "They are all coming."

-- Susan Kinzie


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