May 4th, 2010
06:34 PM ET

In spite of everything, Haiti's children still dream and laugh

Edwidge Danticat
Special to CNN

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/americas/03/17/haiti.baptists.children/story.haiti.children.afp.gi.jpg caption="Danticat: The survival of Haiti rests on the childrens' shoulders" width=300 height=169]

hey are everywhere, Haiti's precious and beautiful children. They make up more than a third of the country's 10 million-plus population. You see them on rooftops - where there are rooftops - flying kites. You see them gathered in small circles on the ground –where the ground is not muddy - playing marbles. You see them skip around where the ground is muddy, sometimes bathing in water from manholes.

You see them link hands and run in a circle while singing a song associated with the won, the Haitian equivalent of "Ring Around the Rosie." You see them fight for a turn at jumping rope. You see them twirl a bicycle wheel with a bent rope hanger and in that act you can see the dream of one day actually driving the rest of the bike, or a motorcycle, a car or an airplane.

You see them carry gallons and buckets of water on tiny heads that have no place to rest. You see them suddenly appear in the middle of Port-au-Prince's impenetrable traffic and, dressed in dirty rags, plop an even dirtier rag on the hood of your car. You see them file in and out of the same traffic wearing striking school uniforms with different color plaid tops. Sometimes you see them wearing their Sunday best in the middle of the week.

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Filed under: Haiti • Haiti Earthquake
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