Survival — and love

I first met Falone Maxi when she was lying on a mattress on the dirt. A sheet was her roof. But she liked it that way. Healing from her wounds suffered in Haiti’s massive earthquake, Falone did not want to be within concrete walls. What if there was another “catastrophe?” she said to me.

She was only 23. Quiet. Shy. Yet I admired her strength, her courage to face recuperation in, of all places, Haiti, where her family has little and life offers her even less.

I kept in touch with her over the months, even took her back to stand in front of the rubble of her university. I did not know if I was doing the right thing. What if all her nightmares returned?

She longed to see Mica Joseph, the classmate she had been trapped with for six long days under the rubble. Falone told me she survived because of her faith in God. And because Mica has been there with her. On my last trip to Haiti, earlier this month, I took Falone to see Mica.

I don’t cry often when I am on assignment, but when the two women, closer now than sisters, met, I found myself reaching for a tissue.

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