Over the past few decades thousands of people have migrated from rural areas of Haiti in order to find ways of making a living in the capital city. For most there has been no other option but to make this move, given that there are so few economic opportunities in the countryside.
After the Haiti earthquake this process has reserved, as families fled the city to find refuge with their loved ones in the villages where they grew up.
Many arrived with just the clothes on their back and are now reliant on their families and hosts.
Providing for 17 people
This was the case for Camelia Fleurize and her family, who lives in the south of the country.
When they were young, she sent six of her children to go and live with an aunt and uncle in Port-au-Prince. They could only afford to send three to school, so the others made a living by selling cookies on the streets of the city.
After the earthquake, Camelia spent three days trying to reach her children by phone. Unable to make contact, she decided to make the long journey from her home to the capital, hoping to find them.
Thankfully all of Camelia’s family survived the disaster, and they now live with her in her tiny home.
With 12 children plus friends of the family she is responsible for looking after 17 people in total, and yet she has only a meagre income from selling food and clothes at the market.
A cow for Camelia
Life is a struggle, and it is hard to make a living where there are so few economic opportunities.
However, Christian Aid’s partner is helping Camelia and her family by providing her with a cow that will supply nutritious milk and the possibility of a small income.
Camelia says ‘I feel happy about the cow. I believe it will change a lot of things.” She has received training on how to look after and feed the cow, and her children will be able to help too.
Her daughter Dieula says ‘I am looking forward to the cow arriving. I will feed it and give it water, and remove the bugs on its skin by taking it to the river.’
A new life in the country
This story is replicated across villages in rural Haiti where Christian Aid partners are providing goats, chickens and cows to families struggling to make ends meet.
By helping them make a living in rural areas, they are far less likely to have to move once again to Port-au-Prince.
Given that many people do not want to return to the capital, given the choice, this is a precious opportunity to start life afresh.