Woman and man carrying goods

Down, but not out

“I was washing my hands and then a crowd of people ran towards my house, screaming, ‘Gangs are shooting. Many people have been killed. Leave now!’” Monique Guerrier, a 46-year-old Haitian mother of four clearly remembers the day she had to leave home.

The violence in Martissant, Haiti in June of 2021 was alarming. Automatic fire was crisscrossing the streets. Houses were burned to the ground. Several people died. For 21 years, the young widow had lived in a small home she had built for her family. But when the gang violence flared up, like so many in her community, the family was forced to flee.  

They lost their home and their possessions but found shelter at the Sports Centre in Carrefour. The place provided a space for physical peace, but no mental peace. Monique’s fears were overwhelming. Her mind was constantly racing with where she would find the food and money to support her children. She felt insecure.

Within a few days, Monique decided to take her family to her original home area of Arnaud, Nippes. Two other families would join her on the journey.

Once they arrived, the Guerrier family found a small house in the rural community of Morcou, which they opened to share with two more families. For a while, there were 14 people living together – a tight fit made more difficult by the daily uncertainty of whether there would be food to eat. “I spent days looking for food and other essential items for my children and the two other families that joined us here,” Monique says.

Then on August 14, a powerful earthquake tore their small house down. It could have easily claimed their lives.

“No house in Martissant, no house in Morcou now, and no livelihoods to provide at least for our daily bread. I am 100 per cent depending on God’s mercies. I live by faith; I wait for God,” Monique says.

In Morcou, Monique heard about Canadian Foodgrains Bank member, World Renew, and their emergency distribution for families affected by the earthquake.

She didn’t hold out much hope. Her house was too far from the main road for help to reach her. “It requires difficult trudging, so no one bothers to visit; no one cares to distribute aid to affected families.”

Imagine her surprise when World Renew staff walked to remote areas of Morcou to personally visit families affected by the earthquake, and distribute food and hygiene items.

And thanks to funds provided by Global Affairs Canada and the Humanitarian Coalition through Canadian Foodgrains Bank, World Renew was able to further support Guerrier and other families whose lives and livelihoods were devastated by the earthquake. For three months, 1000 people, including Monique, received $100 USD a month to help them purchase basic necessities like food. It gave people like Monique a little more security while they worked to build back their lives.

For Monique, the help was no less than a gift from heaven.

“May God’s abundant blessings be upon the organization,” she says.