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Haiti survivor Imen Khozouee joins South community

Posted By Denebola On February 10, 2010 @ 2:56 am In Global Education | Comments Disabled

Denebola staff writer Laura Haime interviewed Imen Khozouee, a student from Portland, Haiti, who has been displaced from his home by the recent earthquake. He has been in Newton since January 23 and is currently enrolled classes at South, where he will finish the school year, hoping to keep his life as normal as possible.

Laura Haime: How old are you?

Imen Khozouee: I’m 18.

LH: What was your life like in Haiti before the earthquake struck?

IK: My school started at 7:30 am, so I had to wake up at 6:00 every day. I finished at 1:00 pm some days, other days at 2:00 pm, and sometimes at 4:00 pm.

LH: And what would you do after school?

IK: I would usually just go home and sleep.

LH: What about on the day of the earthquake? What were you doing before it struck?

IK: I was right outside of my school waiting for my dad to pick me up.

LH: And what was your reaction?

IK: Well, I thought it was just an earthquake.

LH: Just an earthquake?

IK: I didn’t think it was that bad at first’€we have a lot of earthquakes. I realized it was kind of long and a very powerful earthquake, but I didn’t know how bad it really was.

LH: You didn’t have to run for cover?

IK: Fortunately, there were no buildings around me, so I only really had to watch out for the trees and branches that were falling down.

LH: Were you with anyone during the earthquake?

IK: Yeah, my sister was there too, and I was with a few other friends.

LH: When did you realize that the earthquake was worse than you had thought?

IK: When I was walking home and I saw all of the damage in the streets. I saw all of the people who were affected by it.

LH: You had to walk home?

IK: Yeah, the roads were completely blocked by the buildings that had fallen.

LH: Did anything happen to your school?

IK: The school was fine, but the French ambassador’s residency was behind the school, and that was completely destroyed.

LH: Was your house affected by the earthquake?

IK: All of the shelves were on the ground, broken glass everywhere; cups and plates had fallen to the ground.

LH: Did anything happen to your family?

IK: They were fine. My mom was working’€she’s a teacher at a school. A wall fell on her car when she was inside the building though. My grandparents were at home. My grandmother was sleeping, thank God! She would’ve had a heart attack! My brother was okay also.

LH: How many siblings do you have?

IK: Just two.

LH: They’re both fine?

IK: Yes.

LH: What about your extended family?

IK: They’re all here in the states. It was just us living in Haiti.

LH: Are your friends safe?

IK: I didn’t have news from my friends at first, but by now I know that most of them are okay.

LH: Do you think that the foreign aid has been effective in Haiti?

IK: They haven’t been 100 percent effective. The aid has helped a lot of people so far, but it’s just impossible to help all of the people in Haiti considering that there are about three million people there.

Fortunately, most of the citizens have already migrated to other parts of Haiti or to the Dominican Republic. But there are still many people who need to be taken care of.

LH: What were the areas that were most affected in Haiti?

IK: Almost everyone in Portland was affected the same way. Most of the damage happened downtown, where the epicenter was, because they didn’t construct the buildings according to the appropriate regulations.

LH: Have there been any foreign organizations that have stood out to you throughout your experience?

IK: I’ve seen lots of organizations but I can’t really say that there’s one that is working more than another. Of course there are some that are bigger than others, such as the UN and the Red Cross.

LH: But after the earthquake, you were able to go to your house and sleep there?

IK: Yeah, I slept outside in the yard the first night. But when I saw that the house was still there and that it wasn’t affected by any possible aftershock, I went back inside.

LH: Why did you come to Newton out of all places?

IK: I had family here. My aunt and uncle are here and my cousins are more or less my age so I was able to come without many problems.

LH: How do you like it here so far?

IK: Everyone has just been so nice to me.

LH: And what about your experience at Newton South in particular?

IK: It’s been really nice here so far. I really like my classes.

LH: I hear you’re taking AP Physics.

IK: Yeah, I’m probably going to be dropping that soon.

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URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/haiti-survivor-imen-khozouee-joins-south-community/

URLs in this post:

[1] Community Initiates Response for Haiti: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/01/28/community-initiates-response-for-haiti/

[2] Rebuilding Haiti: an engineer’s story: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/rebuilding-haiti-an-engineer%e2%80%99s-story/

[3] Responding to Haiti: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/responding-to-haiti/

[4] Haiti Relief Efforts Fading At South: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/haiti-relief-efforts-fading-at-south/

[5] South athletes raise money for quake victims: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/02/10/south-athletes-raise-money-for-quake-victims/

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