Esta Louis and family

Esta Louis was sitting on her porch when the earthquake struck in January 2010. As the ground shook and the walls began to fall, she thought the entire world might turn upside-down.

“I felt like everybody would die in that moment,” she recalls. 

She and her husband, Lexene Duperval, and their children — 6-year-old Losiana and 5-year-old Leny — didn’t die. But their worlds did turn upside-down.

Before the disaster, Esta, who is 24, sold rice and oil in a market about 20 minutes from Santo. Now she has no job. Her husband makes a little money driving a motorcycle taxi and working on the Habitat build site, carrying water for the irrigation trenches. But often, there is not enough food to eat.

Esta takes care of her family as best she can, seeking out cool spots during the day when it’s too hot to be inside her tent. 

She dreams of moving into her new home and returning to work.

“I’ll be much better in the house,” she says. “Then I can think about a business.”