accessibility & help

Ambroise’s story: living alone after the quake

A young man outside a shack holding a Red Cross parcel© InfoWhen the earthquake struck Haiti on 12 January 2010, Ambroise Abrogo was out on the streets with his friends about to go and play football.

“All the houses around us started tumbling down and I got hurt by a falling brick,” the 19-year-old said.

“Two of my friends were killed and I was very scared. I managed to run away, with a couple of friends, to a nearby lake where it was a bit safer.

“I knew my mother was at home when the earthquake struck but I was too scared to go back to the house for three days because the aftershocks were so bad. When I did go back I found my mother had been killed.”

Temporary shelter

After the earthquake, Ambroise was living by himself in Emp Astree camp in a shelter he made from bits of scrap wood and metal. His extended family helped him survive.

“Although my dad is still alive he is not in my life,” Ambroise explained. “But I have a sister, who’s 12 years old. She’s called Valerie Jeune and she’s being looked after by my father’s new wife.

“Before the quake I was in school but now it’s been destroyed and I don’t know when I will get to go back to school. But I really want to, so that I can get a good job to help myself and my sister – because she is being mistreated by her stepmother.”

In March 2010, the Red Cross carried out a distribution at Ambroise’s camp. He said: “This is the first time I’ve received any assistance from an aid agency. The buckets, toilet paper, toothpaste, soap and other stuff will be useful.”

But his smile doesn’t last long.

“I find it difficult to think about what to do with my life right now, because I am still so sad at losing my mother and it hurts to think about the future,” Ambroise said.

“But, on 14 January two of my aunties had healthy baby boys. I have to remember; life goes on.”