Theolin Emmanuel and family

Theolin Emmanuel’s shelter looks a little sturdier than most in the tent city in Santo. He built it himself — a sort-of lean-to made from aluminum, wood, tree branches and tarps.

Still, heavy rains turn the floor to mud and send him and his family scurrying to a neighbor’s for dry ground.

Theolin, 27, shares the space with his wife, Andarole Marcelus, and her 15-year-old brother, Jean-Valmy Marcelus, who moved in with them because his mother lives far from school.

The house the family rented before the earthquake was still standing after the ground stopped shaking, but it had cracked so badly that it was no longer safe to live in. Though Theolin is proud of the shelter he created, he can’t wait to move into a real home.

“It will be much, much better in the new house because we can be stable there,” he says. “I’m hoping for a lot of things, like having a good job, better income and living my life.”

Theolin worked as a mason during last year’s Carter Work Project, and is happily anticipating joining the ranks again this year.

“The project is for us, so we need to give our participation to it,” he says. “We are really grateful for those who help us.”