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Haitian Students In D.C. Struggle To Make Sense Of Earthquake's Aftermath

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Many Haitians in the U.S. are waiting anxiously to hear if their loved ones in Haiti are okay.
Patrick Madden
Many Haitians in the U.S. are waiting anxiously to hear if their loved ones in Haiti are okay.

By Patrick Madden

At Howard University, many Haitian students say they are struggling to reach relatives and to make sense of the tragedy back home.

"I lost two friends this morning," says Roberte Exantus, president of the school's Haitian Student Association. "I thought this was a nightmare but I got up and this is real." Exantus just returned from Haiti. The rest of her family lives there.

"I just spoke to my dad two days ago. Now I can't find him. I've been trying to reach. Nothing is going through," says Exante. "I lose someone every second, so right now I am not picking up phones or even checking Facebook: so I can cope."

Inside the school's chapel, dozens of students and several teachers gathered for a prayer vigil. After lighting candles, the group formed a tight circle at the front of the chapel. Everyone bowed their heads and placed a hand a hand on the person in front of them.

When it was over, many students stayed and started organizing their own relief effort: clothes, supplies, money, anything to help their loved ones in need.

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