In the Highlands

December 17, 2011
by 
François Gloutnay, Communications officer

Today we're in Duval, a remote village an hour from the capital. There are 34 houses here that were built with subsidies from Caritas. The house of Marie-Rose Kébreau is sandwiched between two buildings. To the right is what remains of the house she occupied before the 2010 earthquake. On the left is the makeshift temporary house she built out of sheet metal and wood.

We knock on the door. Her eldest daughter, Rachel, answers and tells us that she isn’t home. She doesn't hesitate to let us enter the house that has two bedrooms, a kitchen and a pantry. Does she like her new home? "Anpil, anpil, anpil," she replies to Antoine Verlaine Bien-aimé, coordinator of Caritas Port-au-Prince. "A lot, a lot, a lot. It's like we have air conditioning. It’s really nice here, we’re really comfortable."

Travelling along a steep and precipitous road high up the mountain, we come across some sixty people working in a Kombit (Creole for work bee). Everyone is hard at work, men and women are breaking stones, carrying and depositing them to create a long rocky fence that will hold the water and prevent it from gushing down the hill during the rainy season. This is where the families are going to plant and harvest their vegetables. Who do we find there? Marie-Rose Kébreau, the lady of the house in Duval. She benefited from the housing program. Now it is her turn to help her neighbours.

"Caritas is the only one that helps us. Not just after, but even before the earthquake," said Father Nazaire Isaac, the parish priest, who we find preparing a wedding that will be celebrated later. The village of Duval depends on the capital administratively, but it is far away and forgotten by the authorities. Yet the needs are great: 90 percent of the houses in the village were destroyed during the earthquake. Development and Peace supports the activities carried out by Caritas Port-au-Prince.

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