Stories of Change

Vilaceau in his new home.

CWS has repaired or rebuilt hundreds of houses in Haiti for survivors of the 2010 earthquake, Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Hurricane Irma in 2017 and now the earthquake that struck in October 2018.

A big milestone on the road to hurricane recovery in Haiti

“I see how they do the iron work – I had not seen it like that before. And the columns as well. I see that they are very good.”

Vilaceau Sadilien was one of the teachers who received a new home through a CWS construction program supported by the ELCA. He paid close attention to the engineer who led the construction of his new home. What he was witnessing was a new set of building principles and procedures that he hadn’t seen before. He attended a training session for the construction workers and saw that they were doing the work in accordance with these best practices, and that made him feel that his new home is much safer.

“During Hurricane Matthew we were living in a house that was built with mud and covered with a thatched roof. But during the hurricane, rainwater and wind blew the whole thatched roof away. My house was in such bad shape that I could not live there. I had to leave it to live in a room with my mother,” he says.

Now, he is proud of his new home. “We felt that even if we were to build a big house, it would not have been any use to us compared to these two rooms. I feel that these two rooms are stronger – those that were built before had no guarantee at all. You can finish building one and then a year later you see that it’s cracking and starting to break down. But these ones – I feel this is strong, we have a guarantee. We have more confidence.”

For Vilaceau and his family, a new home is only one step in true recovery from the storm. They lost a lot of documents in the storm, as well as livestock that died. On a limited teacher salary, the road to recovery looked long and bleak. The step of having a new home, though, was a big one that has brought a lot of peace of mind. “Despite the fact that I was working, I didn’t have the money or the possibility to build a house with rooms like this one. So I feel that this has a lot of impact on us – we are safer today. We thank the donor who helped us benefit from this project. And we hope that God will bless them more. May He bless you more, because He takes into account people who help people, who see people in need and help them.”