MILOT, Haiti _ The Jan. 12 earthquake that took so much from so many in Haiti has given some Florida deportees what they couldn't find back home: a second chance.
All of them came to the United States illegally as children, and then committed adult crimes that got them deported _ which usually is a one-way ticket to oblivion.
Instead, the young men here are helping English-speaking medical personnel save lives at the American-run Hospital Sacre Coeur in Milot, 12 miles southwest of Cap-Haitian.
With 73 beds, it's the largest private hospital in Northern Haiti, a region that escaped major damage.
Leading the hospital's team of 10 translators: Patrick Etienne, whose American life dead-ended on March 28, 1998, when U.S. marshals loaded him onto a Port-au-Prince-bound plane in Orlando in shackles and handcuffs.
Etienne, now 33, had lived in Miami half his life.
After a year behind bars for a burglary, he landed in the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, where even before Jan. 12, millions lacked the basic amenities that even destitute Americans take for granted: flush toilets and electricity.
The tiny bungalow that Etienne shares with his wife and two children outside Milot has neither. But his job more than compensates.
"Being a translator has changed my life in ways I never imagined," he said. "I've always wanted to help my people.‚.‚. That kind of blinds the needs I have."
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