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We know you were affected by the disaster. When we came the first time you were pregnant. When we returned the last time you had delivered the baby. And since then, you've been living under tarps. How is things for you now? Things are not good yet because… Everything was lost. We have nothing… We don’t work. The land is not productive… We have no money. We have nothing to make a living. And what about your garden? Too much sun. We did plant some things but the sun dried them up. We did have some plantains but the winds damaged them. That is Titayo. Tikele is in front us. Tikele is in front of us. Over there is Titayo. They say many people were there. They were [farming] in the hinterlands. That's where some of them died. After sunset... we could hear it was on its way so we got up. That house there had a porch, which we sat under. We were in a corner. We heard the wind coming from far away. It was ready to rip the house away. I sat there trembling. Like a leaf. When I realized I couldn’t stay in the house, I got up. That big house, it was filled with people. Then, I heard screaming. Everyone was running to Despa. All of the houses up here fell. Only Despa still had houses. We all ran to Despa. After Matthew, we were hit hard. We had our fishing nets in the sea, all were lost. We also lost our fishing traps. We lost three motors. We had three canoes; two were lost and one was damaged. The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) witnessed that. The motors were damaged. There were two fishermen named Pierreman and Lebrun… they went fishing and we haven't seen them since. How is it with all of the heat inside? We have to stay outside because the tarps make it very hot inside. Sometimes it rains and I have to sleep at the neighbor’s. Water goes under the tarp and into the house. It gets muddy and I can’t fix the children’s beds. So I sleep there. Who gave you the tarps? The foreigners came... they gave us tarps to cover our homes. They told us if we sold them... we would not receive any more aid. So, the people do not sell the tarps. We put it on our homes when it rains to prevent leaks. During the day, it is hot. Yes, it is very hot. All day you wet inside the house in order to breath. Where do you get the water? From a creek over there. You put aqua tabs in the water... and you sprinkle it inside to keep cool. How many children do you have? I have six. A young woman like old are they? I have one who is 18, one is 14... I have one who is 10, one is 8, one is 3... one is 7 months. The 7 month old was born after the hurricane? Yes, here she is. She's sleeping. In terms of fishing we know people lost boats, fishing traps… We lost fishing nets… DCP [Dispotif de Concentration de Poisson] ... Canoes are vital to this area, we lost a lot of canoes. Most of the youth you see sitting around it’s because of canoes. They don’t have canoes. What has the government done? What have international organizations done? What have NGO’s done to help re-establish fishing here? Only FAO and Plan International... gave each fisherman 700 Haitian dollars (USD $56), which isn't much... because one net cost 150 Haitian dollars (USD $12) at that time. When you give a fisherman that under those circumstances, what can it do? It can’t do anything. But, it is something. After the hurricane... if you found someone to give you 100 Haitian dollars it was something. We were thankful for those two NGOs that helped us. We would like to tell the World Bank... IDB [Inter-American Development Bank]... USAID [United States Agency for International Development]... if there is one thing they could help the Sud department… particularly the commune of Les Anglais with... is its agricultural potential. because before the river got to this point... we produced food for the entire department. It was known as the “Breadbasket of the southern coast”. Agricultural production in Les Anglais remains... the primary activity even today... because 98% of the people work in agriculture. Sweet potatoes are growing now? Yes, little branches are growing. When will they be ready? What month is it? It’s August. September, October. By then you’ll have something to sell? What do you mean to sell? To eat! After August is over you have hope. Why is that? You have hope that peak [hurricane] season has passed. Between August and October. What do people have to eat? There used to be a lot of production… but I don’t see anything here now. Did these problems start after the hurricane? There is nothing serious going on. There was squash, I don’t see them. Some places don’t have plantains. There used to be a lot of plantains here but I don’t see that. We used to have a variety of plantains. Near my house there are trees but they haven’t produced anything. Everywhere you go… they have a few plantain trees but they're not producing anything. What about breadfruit? When will they be ready? It was your main resource but there isn't any. The little trees haven’t produced anything yet. We’re in trouble! This is my land. My husband has his own. I farm here. The country offers you nothing to succeed or make money. You’re not working, you’re not doing anything. The farmer has to sell. On Wednesdays and Thursdays you have to go to the market to sell. I can't sit around doing nothing, I have to work. I can’t wait for a man to say, “Here, here, here…” Women can’t sit around waiting for men to give them something. That’s how you maintain your respect. We want to work but we don’t have the means. To hire a farmer you need 30 to 35 Haitian dollars (USD $2.42 to $2.82). For a kòve [reciprocal labor group]? For two people you need at least 60 Haitian dollars (USD $4.84). But are there soris here [small reciprocal labor group]? Yes, we have them all. If there are 4 people you need 4 times 35 Haitian dollars (USD $2.82)? And what about a kòve that has many people? It doubles, triples, quadruples! What do you think, Carlos? The way Caisse Populaire (informal credit union) makes loans... if the government would create one it would be good... they can’t continue to give us money but we could take out loans. So, you’d have loans for agriculture, petty commerce and fishing. But they would have to give us the loans at a rate that’s not too high. In town the rate is high but they still take it. They use it to buy motorcycles, the youth making a living with them... to pay school fees for their children. I’m the President of “Chemin La Vie [The Path to Life]”... and “Espwa Demen [Future Hope]”. It’s a women’s group with two cooperatives in it. How were things before and after the hurricane? Before, it was very good. People were making money. We lent money. Women were indepedent. Now they are in need. Women here have always been [economically] active. When we realized they had to borrow from merchants in Les Cayes… in order to make a living... we decided to start this cooperative. We started with 50 gourdes (USD $0.80). We’d save 50 gourdes and put 5 gourdes (USD $0.08) in our register. We started this on our own. We made a lot of progress. We had livestock. We stockpiled cereal seeds. For livestock we had cows, sheep. We bought beans, maize. All seeds. We stored them and when we made loans we sold them. And petty commerce too? Members took out loans for their own activities. But within the cooperative... we had a livestock program... where we purchased a cow for a member… and they'd pay interest on it then reimburse us the money [for the cow]. It was so successful. We all had livestock… mules, donkeys, for their own activities. Before Matthew, we were doing well. But after Matthew, we stopped. What activities did you have? We met and with the money we collected… we lent it to 1, 2 or 3 people. After that, we stopped. We all lost everything. Our homes were destroyed. Nobody had anything. You could only save your life and children. We had nothing to sell. We’ve been operating for 6 years. We will balance our budget in August [2017]. Once I gave all my members their money... I would like to do a draw. Each month we will give 2 members a female sheep. You will start [investing in] livestock? We will have livestock. After this balance sheet... in our 7th year, we will all have our money. We will collect money. So that there is no conflict... We will randomly draw two names. The following Tuesday... we will buy a sheep for them at the market Next month we will do the same thing... until everyone gets a sheep. Then we will continue to lend money. If we are thinking about a store for the cooperative… it would be a great move. We can get land. We have members who own land… if we have a good idea they will give us land. What are you waiting for? You can’t just decide to open a store. It’s costly. If we can get support, advisement, training… If you had said monetary support, I would get up and leave. For example, a community store could have cement. It could have iron bars, nails, metal sheets for sale. It could have paint, other little things. It could have seeds as well. A few of us partnered to start the organization… so that we could meet regularly. Scene Maritime came here. They shared with us a motorized system… for us to purchase in installments. That worked out well. And we had a store as well. After the hurricane everything was damaged. We met with the fishermen… With the motors they saw how well we did. We caught more fish. So a lot of people joined the organization. This organization existed before Matthew? Yes, it was established in 2007. The association has between 150 and 200 members. We don’t have enough canoes. We don’t have enough motors. We need fishing nets and have limited economic means. We're afraid to live here but there is no alternative so we stay. But we’re not happy about living here. You aren’t afraid to continue living in this house? Yes, we’re afraid. Are you afraid because of Matthew? I’m afraid of any little wind... I don’t feel safe. Why don’t you feel safe? We no longer live the same way. We don’t have a place to sleep, to live, to breathe. We are in hurricane season. If there is another hurricane like Matthew where will you go? I don’t know. There isn’t a safe place. We are all under tents. There isn't a safe place. You rebuilt in the same place. Are you putting yourselves at risk? There’s the river and the sea. Aren't you afraid? Of course you’re afraid. You can't deny it. When your situation is so bad that you can’t move, you have no choice. You say, “Lord, your will be done.” We return to the same place even if we don't want to. We are many. We shouldn’t be here. But our situation is bad, we can't afford to buy anything. We don’t have anyone advocating for our needs. And those in power work for "big shots" like themselves. The "little guy" gets trampled over. When aid comes... they claim it in your name but you never receive it. Only those connected to power receive it. And they will give it away because they don't need it. The poor have to find someone who knows someone. The government should have intervened right after the hurricane. The sea meets the lagoon and we’re in the middle. If you look on the internet, television... you see how homes are destroyed when sea levels rise… the sea and lagoon meet at the bottom of Calis mountain. Before the next hurricane season they should have relocated people. Build homes for them in the mountains. They keep saying they will but nothing happens. Even if they would offer us a home we would never stay here. We would look for another place and build a home somewhere else. But for now... For now, we have to stay here. How long have you been here? Since the hurricane. You've been here 10 months. Where did you get the metal sheets? We collected scraps from destroyed homes... and put them together to get some relief. But if you had the means you would leave? No, I would never stay here. Do most people think the same way? No, they wouldn’t stay. Those who have the means right now… with what they give them they leave. They buy a little land to build somewhere else. They don’t stay near the sea. The danger is the sea and the river. The river may flood at any moment. Yes, you might be sitting here and all of a sudden the river floods. You hope to have 3 temporary shelters... one here, one down by the river and one in Grand Despa. What other activities do you hope to do with this space… when there isn’t a disaster? What we would like is to have a complex. We would have the state offices in it. There would be space for literacy [programs]... which is very important for us because… people are voting but there are things they don’t understand. And have some sort of cultural space inside... so that the youth can work in groups. This is the water you drink in the area? Yes. When it rains, the water from up there doesn’t fall into it? No. It doesn’t fall in? It flows. Where? Next to the lady. But you don’t clean it, it has mold. Yesterday, they were going to clean it but they didn’t. But you see there… Yes. But they usually clean it. But is there a water committee that cleans it? There’s no water committee. The young men usually clean it. They sweep up and clear out the trash. The problems with water, how is it in the area? The water is not properly cleaned. Where do you get water? The water isn’t flowing. You don't clean it? Is there a committee or someone who cleans it? Yes. Isn’t this the only source of drinking water? No. There is another water source? You don't drink this? What do you use it for? Washing dishes. Where do you get drinking water? In Dal. Water is a big problem... Adults don’t play in the water but the children do. So we get our water in the morning. How often do you get water? 3 times a day. Early in the morning? You get it early in the morning. Why? So that the water stays cool. Children haven’t played in it yet. At noon. You get it when the sun is hot and children aren’t in the water. In the afternoons because you need water for work. Drinking water, when do you get it? In the morning. Where do you relieve yourself? I don’t see any toilets or latrines in the area? By the sea... because there is nowhere else to do. In terms of latrines, toilets, where do people go? We don’t have any. Everyone goes in the sea. You live right next to the sea. When people go to the bathroom doesn’t that bother you? That’s why I can’t stay here anymore. It’s not good for me. Even if I find tarps and a piece of land I will move. When it rains I can’t breathe. The stench is too much. Where do you go to relieve yourself? You have to do it in something and then dispose of it. So, there aren’t latrines. You do it in the sea? We go in the sea. There are places that don’t have latrines. I have one but there are places that don’t. What problems does that create? Water flows into the gutter, goes into the ravines and ends up in the water. Someone will use the water but it’s contaminated. Water drainage is the greatest challenge when it rains. How will you create a drainage system? We want to drain the water. Dig a hole so that it drains. Erect a gabionade and build an embankment on both sides. We will capture the water and build a cistern to capture rocks. We will build a second cistern to store water. Flooding will not cause the same damage as the water will remain [in the mountains]. We will cut the hills... and make dry wall to contain and conserve the soil. The water will have a place to go when it descends. The way we will construct the dry wall... when you place your feet on it, it will be secure. We will drain it to capture water up there. When the water starts flooding from up there... if the big ravines capture the water it diminishes its strength. The greatest challenge this commune faces is the river. The river [level] is higher than the town. Any little rainfall... threatens the town. If the river, the riverbanks are protected… we have bridges over the river… the population will be safe… in terms of agriculture. Because much of the [cultivable] land has eroded. And people will not lose their lives... if there is flooding in the middle of the night... We will be protected. I have been coming to Chambellan since 1978. I used to come down the bridge to go to the market. The river was 100 meters. It wasn't this wide. As the number of hurricanes increased annually, it expanded. I have issued several warnings to Le Nouvelliste, Tele Guinen… the Mayor can attest to that. If they don’t build an embankment... the town will disappear. Just like [the town of] Moron disappeared some time ago. In 10, 15 years, if we have another Matthew... the town will disappear. The state has many incentives to protect town. There are more than 500 families on the riverbed. All the major investments… the building we just came from, the town hall… less than two-years ago… the government invested a lot of money in that administrative complex. It houses the Mayors Office, Civil Registry, Tax Collections office... the National ID office, public water company… and the Communal Agricultural Bureau. Further down [the street] you have... the police [station], the justice [system]. We have many schools on the riverbed. At 1.5 kilometers, if they don’t protect it… It's quite simple. They have to dredge the river... we secure the riverbanks, secure the gabion to protect the town. If they don’t protect the riverbanks, one day the President will learn that… Chambellan suffered the same fate as Fond Verettes or Mapou. 2,000 to 3,000 people are gone... There are 701 families living there. At any moment the river may flood and 2,000 to 3,000 people will die.

Video Details

Duration: 34 minutes and 3 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 4
Posted by: tonicela on Feb 14, 2018

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