"I was very sad and helpless because I couldn't give back to them."
Yesterday, Stephania decided to go to work as director of staffing for a health care agency to clear her mind.
"I didn't want to stay home and watch the news all day, but as soon I got to work and people started asking me, I started crying," she said. "I tried to be strong, but I couldn't."
However, she says strength will come for the people in Haiti.
"We are a very resilient people," she said. "I know we'll get over this as well."
'Could have been me'
Winnedia Dallemand of Lawrence returned from Haiti two weeks ago after spending the Christmas holiday with her aunt, cousins and friends. She cries every time she sees the images of crumpled buildings, dust and rubble flash on television.
"All I can think of is if I was still there, something could have happened to me," said Dallemand, 24.
She moved to Lawrence in 2007 and is taking English as a Second Language classes at the Adult Learning Center, with hopes of becoming a nurse.
Hearing from home
Edna Chery, a Haitian immigrant who owns Needlynn's bridal and tuxedo shop at 7 Hampshire St. in Methuen, said her cousin's house near the capital collapsed, and that her cousin had a nursery school in the home.
"I know there were people in there," Chery said from the dress shop.
The earthquake hit when parents were at work so she knows there were children inside the nursery, but she doesn't know how many, she said.
Chery has only been able to ascertain spotty information because of communication problems in Haiti. She managed to reach her brother-in-law, Ney Belancourt, around 7 p.m. Tuesday and he painted a picture of jammed traffic, collapsed buildings and injured people.
"You can't talk to anybody, so what you see on the TV is what you get," she said.
Chery is collecting food and clothing at her store for the victims, and she plans to travel back home to help people there.
Staff writers Paul Tennant, J.J. Huggins, Jill Harmacinski and The Associated Press contributed to this report.