Half a dozen years after the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Western Hemisphere struck Haiti, the island nation remains in crisis, but the international community no longer seems interested. This immersive and engrossing book, based on five years of research and scores of interviews translated from Haitian Kreyol, gives voice to the continuing struggle of Haitian people to reconstruct their nation from the devastation of the earthquake, and from many decades of political and economic disaster. The earthquake killed more than 200,000, rendered more than a million and a half homeless, and wiped out what little infrastructure existed in the country. But prior to the quake, half the country was illiterate and two-thirds of Haitians lived in poverty. This book makes clear the long genesis of the ongoing crisis and illuminates the depths of the continuing problems, and does so through some of the most marginal and least-heard people in the world. An interview with a restavek--a child sent by poor parents to work as an unpaid servant in a wealthier household--is an example. A recent study determined a figure of 173,000 restaveks--about 8 percent of the population of children.
Peter Orner edited Voice of Witness titles Underground America and co-edited Hope Deferred, and is the author of four books of fiction, including the novels The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo and Love and Shame and Love. His most recent book, Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, was a New York Times Editor's Choice and named a Favorite Book of 2013 by the Wall StreetJournal. Dr. Evan Lyon is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and has worked in Haiti since 1996. Through his work with Partners in Health, Lyon has sought community-based responses to address HIV and tuberculosis outbreaks throughout Haiti. He has also frequently collaborated with Paul Farmer on articles related to community-based responses to medical crises.