Preparations are under way for Hope for Haitians 18th Village project, St Joseph Village, in Acul Samedi, located in northeast Haiti. Acul Samedi is a small, rural community located in the Fort Liberté commune, primarily consisting of farmers who cultivate crops such as manioc and peanuts. Despite their hard work, the residents of Acul Samedi are faced with numerous challenges.
Through the St. Joseph Village project, Hope for Haitians aims to alleviate some of these challenges. Working with local community residents and leadership four critical issues were identified: housing, water, community space and lighting for safety.
The current housing situation in Acul Samedi is dire, with most homes being built from mud and sticks that offer little protection from the elements. People do not sleep when there is bad weather. When houses leak, water penetrates the walls, which soften and fall on the ground. The occupants of the houses are forced to pick them up and put them back on the wall before the mud dries.
The St. Joseph Village project will provide 75 families with new homes. These homes, equipped with essential amenities such as proper sanitation and water facilities, will provide 375 people a solid foundation to begin the journey towards sustainable livelihoods and a brighter future.
Access to safe drinking water is also a major concern in Acul Samedi. Residents have access to water from two existing wells with hand pumps, while others get water directly from the river. This puts them at risk of various waterborne diseases transmitted in polluted water. Waterborne illnesses, such as typhoid, cholera, and chronic diarrhea, are the cause of more than half of the deaths in Haiti every year.
The St. Joseph Village project will provide two new water wells and two water treatment systems so the entire community can have access to safe drinking water.
The need for a safe community center is also pressing, as the absence of such a space limits the community’s ability to organize important events such as funerals, weddings, and gatherings or training sessions. Sometimes, residents in Acul-Samedi use the church space for the committee meetings if it is available, and many meetings are currently held outside under trees. Without a safe recreation area, children are at risk of falling into negative activities such as gangs, violence, and drugs.
The new community center planned as part of St. Joseph Village will address these needs and provide a place of gathering, growth and community.
Lighting for Safety
In Acul-Samedi, there is no electricity available to light the roads at night. Therefore, the rate of robbery and rape are increasing. Furthermore, children are not able to study after sunset.
The St. Joseph Village project will provide a solar powered light in each of the 75 home allowing children with study after dark and parents to work on various enterprises in the evening. Additionally, the entire community will benefit from the safety provided by 15 solar powered streetlights.
Life in Acul Samedi through those who live there
Marie Merona Meronville
“My name is Marie Merona Meronville. As an old age woman, I can no longer work the land to survive, so I must rely on others to bring food home. My situation is complicated. When it rains, the house leaks and in no way can ensure my family’s safety. We throw rags on the floor to keep it dry. However, it is not enough when the rains persist. We cannot sleep there because the house will flood. I would be more than happy to possess my own well-built home so I can live with my family without stressing on being invaded by the water from the torrential rains. Home and food, these are what I desperately pray for!”
“My husband and I have lived in this community for over 40 years. We have raised our children and grandchildren here and have even built our house with the means at our disposal. However, unfortunately, the house cannot withstand the water. When it rains, the house leaks and we are forced to stay awake to remove the pieces of mud that fall on the floor and replace them on the wood. At our age, this is becoming more and more difficult, especially now that we rely on the neighbors and the Catholic church members to survive. Our house is not properly furnished as well, so we sleep as best we can until the situation changes because we cannot afford to build a new sturdy house on our own.”
What will come next?
Hope for Haitians has a serious commitment to developing sustainable communities. This means that the resources and skills needed for the community to thrive exist within the community itself or they have the resources to obtain it from others. After addressing the initial four critical issues, Hope for Haitians will work with local leadership to develop sustainable food and income sources. Our path is away from dependency and poverty toward self-sustaining communities.