Dieubon Desir and family

Though the heat in his tent is overwhelming, Dieubon Desir knows that he can’t leave it unattended for a full day.

If he does, he’ll return to find that thieves have gashed slits in the side and stolen everything inside.

“I can’t live in peace,” he says. “I don’t feel safe at all here.”

Most days, he lingers nearby, watching his 10-month-old son, Daniel, while his older son, Nixon, goes to school, and his wife, Elmise Esma, walks 40 minutes into town to sell items she’s bought wholesale for a few cents’ profit.

After the 2010 earthquake, business dwindled at the mattress factory where Dieubon had made his living, and he found himself out of job. Now he occasionally makes money working on the pre-building crew at the site of the 2012 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

When the disaster hit two years ago, Dieubon was living in Léogâne. His first thought when the shaking started was that a big bulldozer was passing by. But when he saw columns wobbling and power lines swaying, fear shot through him. He ran through the streets, looking for Nixon. Luckily, he found his son unhurt.

Dieubon, 31, has big dreams for Nixon, who is now 11: “I’d like him to become a very important person in life — an engineer or a doctor.”

He thinks his family will have a better chance at a good life in a Habitat home, and he is looking forward to working with the volunteers during the Carter Work Project.

“Tell them I am waiting,” he says.