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An 11-year-old Haitian boy survives on the edge

January 30, 2010 |  1:55 pm

Clifford Berrette, 11 years old and 4 feet tall, moved like a determined little man through the choking exhaust of the bus terminal in scuffed white sneakers, unnoticed in the crush of people hurrying to leave town.

He picked up a rag from the ground and began to wipe the dirt off a blue minibus, clambering up bumpers and tires to reach the high spots. A taller boy started to clean the vehicle too, but Clifford wasn't going to let him horn in; he shoved him away. Then he extended a small palm to the driver.

"Pretty good job with just a rag," driver Gilbert Pierre said, handing Clifford 25 gourdes, about 50 cents. Beaming with pride, Clifford retreated to the shade, removed one of his sneakers and put the money inside.

It would be safe there until he could give it to his mother. "She promised to cook food tonight if I brought her money," he said.

Continue reading In Haiti, skilled at surviving on the edge.

Photo: Clifford Berrette, 11, stands next to the rubble of his neighbor's home. He and his mother lived in a metal shack below, where his 2-year-old sister died in the earthquake. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times.

Audio slide show: A kokorat on the streets of Port-au-Prince.