Stories of Change

Merantier sits on the foundation of his new house that is under construction.

Following Hurricane Matthew, which struck Haiti in October of 2016, CWS and local partners have distributed seeds and repaired or rebuilt houses in the Northwest Department.

Neighbors unite to build a family’s new house

The commune of Jean Rabel in Haiti’s Northwest Department was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew in October. CWS and partners are helping families rebuild, often literally. CWS is working with new partner AGEHPMDNG to repair and rebuild six houses and to distribute seeds to families who lost their crops in the storm.

One of those houses belongs to Mérantier Destin and his family. Mérantier and his wife have five children, four of whom are married and no longer living at home. Their youngest daughter still lives with them. When Hurricane Matthew hit, the three of them were living in a mud and stick house. The home was severely damaged; wood was broken and walls were damaged.

AGEHPMDNG is helping Mérantier build a new house on the same spot that their old house stood. Mérantier worked with his son, neighbors and AGEHPMDNG to demolish the old structure and prepare the space for the new house. The family is staying with one of their older children while construction is underway.

While the AGEHPMDNG technicians are working on construction, Mérantier is busy assisting. He dug the foundation of the house, contributed rocks, carries concrete and other materials, fetches water from the river and prepares food for the crew.

This process is really a team effort among the community members. Mérantier’s neighbors have lent animals to help move supplies, and they have even carried materials themselves. This is happening despite the fact that some neighbors also have damage to their homes.

The new house promises to be much sturdier than the old one, since it has a solid foundation and is built of rebar and cement. The extra effort and care happening now will ensure that Mérantier and his family can better weather future storms.

Mérantier is a farmer and also received seeds through the CWS-supported distribution. “My gardens are looking good,” he says, despite the fact that Hurricane Matthew destroyed all of his crops. He grows bananas, plantains, sweet potatoes, corn and beans. All of these are for both consumption and income. He received a can of corn, a can of lima beans and 100 plantain trees in the CWS-supported distribution, and then he also bought black and white beans to plant.