Exantus has also learned to ignore the long stares and quiet whispers, products of a longstanding stigma in Haiti for people with disabilities. Before the quake, few resources existed to accommodate Haiti’s disabled, and many regard people with disabilities as misfits.
“I’m not focused on what people say about me or how society sees me,” says Exantus, who married his girlfriend in July on a dance floor.
If some see him as something of an outcast, his friends find inspiration: He’s not one for self-pity; he was determined to dance again, and did. He’s part of a Latin dance company and gives classes.
“Some victims of Jan. 12 stay in the same place and they can’t do anything,” says dance partner and friend Modeline Gene Arhan, 26. “Georges has a goal. He’s always thinking of where he’s going.”
He’s already made one dream come true.
“As long as I’m living,” Exantus says, “I’m going to dance.”