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For young amputee, Haiti brings one disaster after another

Schneily, 4, lost his leg in Haiti’s January earthquake, but with the help of a prosthetic, he is a happy, playful boy despite the devastation around him

Schneily Similien eats breakfast in the ragged tent where his family lives in Leogane, Haiit. The 4-year-old amputee lost his left leg and foot in Haiti's January earthquake. The prosthetic leg he received in March is getting worn and starting to break, but his family has not been able to return to the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles to have it repaired.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

Schneily Similien squeals as his father, Ducarmel, pushes him on a bike this week near the family's home. The moment of play is a sharp contrast to the concern Ducarmel felt when Schneily was turned away from the local kindergarten last week because the family can't pay tuition.
When disaster becomes the backdrop for childhood

Emilio Morenatti / AP

Despite his artificial leg and the troubles plaguing his family and country, Schneily is an ordinary boy who spends his days running, climbing and playing.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

Schneily enjoys mugging for the camera and his playfulness isn't thwarted by the desperation that surrounds him. Ten months after the earthquake, the boy and his family still live in the rubble-strewn ruins of his grandmother's home.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

Schneily joins his neighbors to watch television at a bar next door to his family's house. It's communal entertainment in the community that saw massive flooding from Hurricane Tomas and is now dodging the spread of a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 1,000. So far, no neighbors or friends have been sickened, Ducarmel Similien says.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

Darline Simlien, a former kindergarten teacher, urges Schneily to eat. Schneily is the youngest of her three sons.
When disaster becomes the backdrop for childhood

Emilio Morenatti / AP

At his age, Schneily doesn't seem to care when others notice his artificial leg, his parents say. They worry that that might change as Schneily grows older and confronts a culture that typically shuns people with disabilities.

Emilio Morenatti / AP

Schneily will stay home from school for now, until his family can figure out some way to make up back payments for tuition, which total about 35,000 Haitian gourdes, or about $875 U.S.
Donations can be sent to the family through a nonprofit bank called Fonkoze, in care of "Ducarmel Cimilien," also known as Similien. The account number is 71-1-415431-01.

Emilio Morenatti / AP