Healing Haiti: Five years after quake, hope remains despite persisting devastation

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (PIX11) -- The memories are still painful and powerful.

"I was taken away from the rubble and I realized that I lost my fingers and it was a very terrible experience to be honest with you. There's no words to describe how i felt. I remember I cried a lot that day," said survivor Eddy Toussiant.

Jan. 12, 2010: a massive earthquake struck Haiti.

One of the poorest nations on earth crumbled. Heavy rubble snuffed out lives. Survivors roamed the streets, dazed.

"I saw dead people. People died in the streets and people crying calling, 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,'" said Joel Joseph.

When the dust settled, the staggering toll: More than 200,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless .

"As my house collapsed I was living right here, I spent 2 years," Joseph recalled. "Two years and a half that I spent right there, living in a tent."

The world extended a helping hand. Americans alone texted in millions. Billions were promised, but little delivered.

Five years later, poverty still persists, earthquake abandoned buildings still stand, including the Port Au Prince Cathedral.

But in the shadow of despair, a few glimmers of hope.

Like Surtab, a new company that builds android tablets in Port Au Prince. Those tablets are now sold around the world.

PIX11 News was given an exclusive tour of the Triomphe, a multi-million dollar movie theater being built in the heart of Port Au Prince. It’s the first movie theater in this city in over a decade.

"This will be beautiful that to have a place where Haitian artists can perform and also where the public will appreciate the talents," said Dennis.

"Entertainment plays a part in human development, you need have a space for that, especially a country that has this rich culture," said music producer Jean Jean-Pierre.

You can see some of that culture in the rich paintings.

"Even though I was under a tent, I was painting," said Joseph. "Today, we still survive because of God."