Two Years Later, Moving Toward Hope

“The Episcopal Church in Haiti and CEDDISEC have helped many people to rise up and take steps forward toward healing and restored hope.”
- Père Frantz (Fanfan) Cole

January 12, 2010, marked a new page in the history of the Haitian people. While two years have already passed, the consequences of this terrible earthquake are still present. Here in Haiti we are reminded each day of its effects, as we step outside our front doors and continue to see the destruction and debris.

Mme. Jean Heclaire, a new homeowner, is rebuilding her business after the Haiti earthquakeUnfortunately, reconstruction is moving slowly; many people are still living in tents; and many more remain unemployed. Port-au-Prince is not the same Port-au-Prince that we knew in the past — so many buildings, homes, businesses and jobs have been destroyed.

It is very challenging for us to forget that moment — 4:53 p.m. It is a moment that is constantly in our minds.

Yet, as we participated in recent commemoration ceremonies, we were also constantly reminded that we are not alone. Through the action and collaboration of both Haitians and our international brothers and sisters, the Episcopal Church in Haiti and CEDDISEC have helped many people to rise up and take steps forward toward healing and restored hope.

CEDDISEC (Centre Diocésain de Développement Intégré et de Secours) — the relief and development arm of the Episcopal Church in Haiti — with the support of partners like Episcopal Relief & Development, has worked hard this past year to help people take both spiritual and physical steps toward healing and reconstruction. For example, through CEDDISEC’s Shelter Program, 1,240 individuals (265 families) left behind a precarious camp or living environment and moved into new homes. Further, over 1,000 individuals have been gainfully employed in the construction of these new homes.

Amelicia Elizee is one of these individuals. Since the quake, she had been living in a tent, which she had to pack up and move every few months as private and public spaces were forcefully cleared. In July, she shed tears of joy as she became a new homeowner in the urban center of Carrefour.

Pere Fanfan (left) and new homeowner Amelicia ElizeeSimilarly, Mme. Jean Heclaire, formerly a trader and renter in Carrefour, found herself homeless and displaced. With four others, she lived in a tent she erected on family land in her hometown of Trouin, a rural community of Léogâne Commune. Today she, too, is a new homeowner, and also is rebuilding her business as a femme Sara (traditional Haitian rural-urban trader).

On the second-year anniversary of the 2010 earthquake, many people expressed their gratitude for the Church’s and CEDDISEC’s assistance. Many shared testimonies of the new sense of security their homes provide. And many shared a wish and prayer that this New Year brings additional opportunities for more people to move into new homes, be employed, feel proud, and feel hopeful about what the future holds.

For more information and a slide show about CEDDISEC’s Shelter Program, supported by Episcopal Relief & Development, visit http://www.er-d.org/HaitiShelter.

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Père Frantz (Fanfan) Cole is the Director of CEDDISEC, the relief and development arm of the Episcopal Church in Haiti and Episcopal Relief & Development’s key implementing partner in the Haiti Recovery Program. Père Fanfan is also the Priest in Charge of Ascension de Thor Parish in Carrefour, an urban center southwest of Port-au-Prince, near the quake’s epicenter.

Photos: Top, Mme. Jean Heclaire, a new homeowner, is rebuilding her business after the Haiti earthquake. Bottom, Père Frantz (left) with new homeowner Amelicia Elizee.

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