SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- When the photograph was taken, Otilia Campos was already dying of tuberculosis. But to her daughter, she still looked young, and the beauty of her dark eyes hadn't faded.

Josefina Campos treasured that picture of her mother. She kept it in her bedroom, on top of a metal box used to store clothing until Hurricane Mitch washed away her home and everything she owned.Of all the possessions taken away from her, there's nothing that pains her more than losing that photo, the last taken of her mother before she died 12 years ago at age 52.

"It was the best keepsake I had of my mother," Campos said.

Hurricane Mitch killed thousands and left more than 1 million people homeless when it hit at the end of October. Talk to survivors and almost without exception they'll stress that material items don't mean much; the most important thing is that their families are safe. They worry more about rebuilding their lives than about any single item.

Yet for some, weeks after the storm, the pain is deepened by the loss of that one special item that meant so much to them.

It could be a photograph of a mother, a gift from a dear friend or a child's favorite toy. Or for the many poor people, it's that one item for which they had worked so hard for so long to buy -- and which they doubt they'll ever be able to replace.

For Enrique Avila Garcia, it was a clock.

Two years ago, a young American woman named Sonya came to his town near the northern city of San Pedro Sula and trained him and 34 other people in basic health care.

He became friends with her, and before she left, she gave him a wall clock from the United States. He proudly displayed it in his living room along with a framed photograph of the class of trainees.

"More than anything, it was with affection and appreciation that she gave it to me, as a memento," he said.

He said he has lost contact with Sonya and there's no way to tell her that he, his wife and nine children lost just about everything they owned.

Adan Buezo Duarte, who was sharing a giant tent with Avila's family at a shelter, talked about a cassette-radio lost when his apartment was destroyed.

Buezo's best friend gave to it to him as a surprise present on his 39th birthday.

He used it to listen to evangelical music but now has no hope of replacing it.

"I can't earn enough money to buy another tape recorder," he said.

For children, the flood often carried away their favorite toys. Seven-year-old Carlitos Iscano lost his little yellow truck. Nine-year-old Vanessa Rosano lost the pink bicycle her father bought her last year that she rode to school and her grandmother's house.

For some adults, the most important things they lost are items that could be replaced if they had the money -- but they don't.