Twenty four hours. That’s how long Odeleine, Jacques and their children took shelter in a small concrete shelter while Hurricane Matthew relentlessly battered their town of Duchity.
Outside, as trees were uprooted and tossed about by the winds, they feared for their lives. They watched helplessly as roofing materials, lumber, clothing and entire household contents were blown away.
When the winds died down, they emerged from the safety of their concrete shelter to discover a community completely devastated. Few houses remained standing, and nobody was left unscathed. Strewn across the streets were the possessions of their neighbours, and the remnants of people’s homes. Their own house was gone, along with all their possessions and what little food they had left. All they had was the clothes on their back.
In spite of this unimaginable hardship, Odeleine and Jacques did not lose hope. After the hurricane, Odeleine began looking for any food that had been blown off the trees and vegetables of their former garden. They survived by eating fruits and vegetables they found and food given by some generous friends and neighbours who still had a little to share.
Throughout the next few weeks, Jacques gathered what he could from boards and tin roofing pieces that were strewn around. He built a small two-room house from the salvaged materials and also managed to build a small kitchen to cook.
As it became harder and harder for Odeleine and Jacques to find food to feed their family, they were connected with World Renew. In partnership with Productive Cooperatives Haiti, World Renew is providing food and other critical assistance to Hurricane Matthew survivors. For the next three months, Jacques and Odeleine will receive rice, maize meal, beans and oil, as well as seeds to plant beans and corn. This food will be enough to sustain their family until spring, when they can harvest the beans and corn they have planted.
This family is one of 1,600 other families in Duchity who are receiving food through World Renew’s food assistance project, funded by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. World Renew is also thankful for the generosity of individual donors that have made this project possible.
After this month’s distribution, Odeleine and Jacques enjoyed a meal of rice and beans cooked on a fire in their kitchen. They are very grateful to World Renew for the food they’ve received. For the first time since the hurricane, they knew they would not go to sleep hungry. With each day, their hope for the future continues to grow.
*Header image: Odeleine, Jacques and their children in front of the kitchen that Jacques built.