It has been over three years since the 2010 Haiti earthquake, yet when walking down the streets of Port-au-Prince there are moments when you feel like it just happened. You turn the corner to look over the mountain and see hundreds of blue tents lined up back-to-back. There are still a half million Haitians living in tents. It’s a heartbreaking feeling yet Haiti doesn’t seem heartbroken at all. I was astonished by the spirit of the Haitian people. It is a resiliency that allows people to push forward. To become stronger and live life to its fullest. It is infectious. It is faith.
Just on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince in a town called Gantier lives a man named Jemme Octanor. Jemme lives with his wife and their seven children. The Octanor family was renting a home in Port-au-Prince when the 2010 earthquake destroyed it. During this time many people began to migrate out of Port-au-Prince including the Octanor family. Jemme built temporary shelter on land that he had previously bought. In need of guidance, Jemme began to attend a local church. “When a community is hit hard we don’t have the means to live so we live by faith.”
What a powerful statement; to live by faith. Not too long after, CWS and local partner SSID began building the Octanor family a new home through the CWS Haiti Rebuilding Project. A simple cement and concrete home with three rooms and enough land to grow their own crops. They finally had a place they could call home.
The theme of “living by faith” not only exists in the Octanor family’s life but in the community and its leaders. “God had a plan and allowed us to find a solution. Some have houses and some hope to have houses.” Faith is transformational. Faith is hope even when the world tests you. Faith is knowing that no matter what life throws your way you can get through anything. Faith is putting your trust in others. Jemme Octanor and his family had faith in the work of CWS. Josie Josemann and her six children whose home was made out of mud and sticks, destroyed by Hurricane Sandy had faith in the work of CWS. Marie, who spent most of her time during our visit dancing in her new home, filled with happiness that herself and her seven family members “now have someplace to sleep” had faith in the work of CWS.
I have faith in the work of CWS. Our volunteers have faith in the work of CWS. Do you?
Read more about CWS work in Haiti.
Krista Connelly, Assistant Regional Director, New England