A nation born of a slave revolt, Ayiti Toma is the only country in the world with a surname, a fitting reminder of the Haitian people's resiliency. The earthquake that struck the nation in January of 2010 brought an intense humanitarian focus that has since lost its momentum. To rebuild is to continue in a tradition repeated throughout 200 weary years of history -- to move on is to call upon the faith countlessly mustered through natural disasters, political strife, famine and war.
"Why has god abandoned us?" begs Madam Mertil, a silent tear rolling down her cheek as she stands on the shifting concrete of her family's collapsed apartment in Port-au-Prince.
Each morning, her first waking thoughts are of her three grandchildren buried deep amongst the collapsed beams she sleeps upon. As the rising sun bakes the earth, Madam Mertil and her family awaken to a nauseating sensory overload, a horror that repeats indefinitely. In the paradox of morality that often follows humanitarian disaster, the family's future necessitates the torment of the present -- although food and shelter are available in nearby displacement camps, the family must remain to retain their property rights. To seek aid is to abandon all they have built and all that they once had.
And so the people of Ayiti Toma endure.