As Pierre-Louis stared out from the house into the yard, she listened to the clattering sounds of her brother playing foosball and the happy shrieks of her friends.
Then, as if tickled by the wind, the water in the swimming pool began to tremble. A vase toppled from its shelf and smashed apart on the floor.
For the next 45 seconds of Pierre-Louis' life, the world shook.
"The house didn't fall," she remembered a year later at Norwalk City Hall, during Friday evening's United Haitian American Society (UHAS) vigil to remember the 250,000 people who perished in the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti and left over 1.5 million homeless.
"We took a couple of mattresses," she remembered, "and we fell asleep outside."
Pierre-Louis, her siblings, and her parents, who were all living in Haiti at the time, survived the earthquake. Her uncle's father was not so lucky.
"Before we left Haiti, my Dad saw our house," she said. "He said it was flat as a pancake."
Though she now resides in Norwalk, Pierre-Louis returned to Haiti this past December to visit with friends and family members.
"People were still walking in the streets. Kids were coming to the door asking for money," she said. "We saw our house. It was still flat."
After the candlelight vigil, Gerry Azor, member of the UHAS, said the group has already sent a team of medical professionals from Norwalk Hospital and Yale to assist in the earthquake relief efforts. UHAS has also provided $100,000 worth of medicine, collected food and donations for the impoverished, and has opened a clinic in Haiti that has served 3,500 people.
"But [rebuilding] has been slow," he said.
Now, in addition to the hundreds of thousands still suffering from homelessness, the nation must contend with other problems, including the malignant effects of rampant cholera and unease over the outcome of the country's presidential election.
"But the people of Norwalk have been very helpful," Azor said.
Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia attended the vigil, which UHAS held on the first floor of City Hall.
"It's hard to believe it has been a year already," he said. "I know the commitment level you've all had. I hope the suffering of the people of Haiti will end."
He added: "We are blessed to have a large Haitian community that makes up the mosaic of the city of Norwalk."