Rebuilding lives in Haiti

(Photo courtesy World Renew)

(Photo courtesy World Renew)

Haiti (World Renew) — For Jean Fichet and Jean Louis Mevoir, it was a bitter-sweet day on January 12. Like their 10 million Haitian neighbors, the memories of the quake that rocked their country five years ago are still vivid and fresh in their minds. They mourn all that this tragedy entailed, but they also celebrate the success they’ve seen as those in the country have worked to rebuild their lives.

Fichet and Mevoir are both from Leogane, the epicenter of the earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010 and the center of World Renew’s 4-year, $19 million response to the quake. Both Fichet and Mevoir had the opportunity to be part of this response from the very beginning.

Mevoir lives in the mountain regions of Leogane in Fondebouden while Fichet lives in the lowland area known as Tamaren. They recall how World Renew came to their communities to talk to the people and determine how they could best respond.

“It was important for World Renew to be accepted by the population,” said Lunise Cerin-Jules, Country Consultant for World Renew in Haiti. “Fichet and Mevoir were among those who helped World Renew understand the realities and needs in their communities and how World Renew should adjust their projects as the programs were being carried out.”

As a result of this community input, World Renew provided food, tarps, latrines, wells, water filters, trauma counseling, goats, agricultural tools, business loans, and new homes. But the ministry also met needs for better community organization and stronger local leadership so communities were equipped to face any new challenges.

“World Renew came to offer a relief program after the disaster, but in the end it was durable development work they did. They took us through a journey that is not ending. They planted something that has deep roots and the harvest will be extended over a long period of time,” said Jean Fichet.

World Renew finished its Haiti earthquake response in 2014, but the impact of this program continues to be seen throughout Leogane.

Fichet and Mevoir, for example, were selected by their communities to be trained in basic veterinary skills as part of World Renew’s goat distribution program. Recently, an animal disease came to the region and was wiping out local livestock.

Fichet and Mevoir told us that World Renew training enabled them to protect and treat animals in their community and prevent the epidemic from spreading.

Their work as veterinary technicians has also provided both men with an on-going source of income.

“I have been able to pay for school tuition and feed my family of four, thanks to my work as a local veterinary technician,” said Mevoir.

Similarly, the seed-banks World Renew set up are still running, which enables families to store seed safely to be used for the next crop cycle. And the goats World Renew distributed are bearing offspring and helping additional families as recipients continue to pass along the first kid from their goats to help additional families in need.

In addition, as part of its earthquake response, World Renew set up farmers’ associations and encouraged local men and women to meet together for training in improved agricultural techniques. These local associations are continuing to meet on a regular basis and are pooling some of their savings to address community needs.

“Recently the farmers’ association in Tamaren was selected to receive funding from the Spanish Red Cross to set up a small veterinary pharmacy,” said Cerin-Jules. “The farmers’ association is a legally recognized entity and enabled the Red Cross to route their funds there to start the pharmacy. The association is providing the building and the Red Cross is providing the first supplies of medication.”

“The intervention of World Renew in Leogane profoundly marked our life,” Fichet and Mevoir told World Renew.