Stories of Change

Roger and his wife at the construction site for their new home.

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.

New house, less fear

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 the cooperative KOFEJ to repair and/or rebuild four houses. KOFEJ is one of the agricultural cooperatives that CWS supports through our ongoing food security programs in the Northwest Department.

Roger Doris and his family will be living in one of the houses that is being constructed. Roger and his wife have four children between the ages of 17 and 27. Two are studying in Port-au-Prince, one is a teacher and one is a secondary school student. One of their children is studying civil engineering and actually drew up the first draft of the plans for the family’s new house. CWS engineers updated the plans and took them into account when creating the final plans.

The family’s house was built in 1989. In 2000 and 2001, the family replaced the walls with concrete blocks and added a tin roof. However, Hurricane Matthew did extensive damage to the structure. It shook the walls, cracking them and leaving them in bad condition. The support columns had been made of wood and weren’t sturdy. The family continued to live in the home, but they were afraid.

The new house is being constructed in the same space as the old one. While that is happening, the family is facing tough living conditions. Their daughter who normally lives at home with her parents is temporarily living with an aunt during construction. Roger and his wife stacked some concrete blocks together until they were about knee height and covered them with tin roof sheets. That is where they are sleeping. You have to crawl into their shelter. The need for expediency is obvious.

Luckily, construction is well underway. Roger has training as an iron worker and carpenter, so he has been helping with the construction. He and his wife also contribute by paying to have the foundation dug, breaking gravel, providing food to the workers, fetching water and paying for other supplies. They have confidence in the work that the CWS engineers and the team are doing. Roger says, “Now we won’t be afraid anymore, with the work the engineers do.”

The family has been part of KOFEJ for a long time and has previously had small business loans from the cooperative. At the time of the hurricane, they didn’t have any crops to lose. They did, though, lose two donkeys as well as goats and pigs. As they rebuild, they have received seeds for black beans, lima beans and corn from KOFEJ. In Roger’s words, “God takes care of us. This is a miracle, the house as well.”

The hope inspired by the new house can be felt in this powerful statement from Roger: “Thank you for the engineers who take us out of this situation. We won’t die in bad shape. We do everything the engineers ask of us.”