Engineering technology student Cleandfee Alexandre lost several extended family members when the Jan. 12 earthquake hit Haiti.
Cleandfee Alexandre, a UW-Stout student, was relieved to hear that his brother and sister survived the earthquake that hit Haiti. News about his extended family and friends was not as good.
Alexandre, 26, a junior majoring in engineering technology, said his sister narrowly escaped unharmed from a bank where she was working in Port-au-Prince. Their brother was not in the city at the time, but when he returned he found his girlfriend trapped in rubble with two broken legs. He was able to get help to free her.
One of Alexandre’s aunts and five family members died when their home collapsed. The quake also killed several of Alexandre’s friends and two former teachers, the latter when his school collapsed.
Alexandre’s parents live in Cap-Haitien, about 120 miles from the capital. Alexandre moved to the capital at about age 14 to attend a private school before coming to the U.S. on a college scholarship.
He said that the earthquake represents another challenge for the people of Haiti, who have recovered from numerous hurricane hits and instances of government upheaval in recent years and decades. “We’ve been surviving, not quite living. We’re survivors. We’re used to not having food on the table,” he said.

Summer Outlook 2012