Linda Espenshade talks with MCC Regional Disaster Coordinators Virgil and Kathy Troyer over Skype on Wednesday, January 13th, 2010. The Troyers are headed to Haiti to help MCC workers deal with the earthquake aftermath.
MCC is working closely with the people of Desarmes, a town about 62 miles north of Port-au-Prince, to strengthen its educational opportunities and improve its access to clean water.
Prior to the Jan. 2010 earthquake, many people from Desarmes lived in the capital of Port-au-Prince because they didn’t have access to education, jobs or basic services in their home communities. Some of them were among the 220,000 people who were killed, in part because of the sheer number of people living in overcrowded, substandard housing in the capital.
MCC saw the value of creating resources in areas outside of Port-au-Prince, so that Haitians could live with their own families, in their own communities. With resources that include education and water, less people would have to migrate to the capital for opportunities.
A road project to connect remote villages in the hillsides above Desarmes.
A large agriculture project in the northeast area of Haiti.
More than $16 million has been dedicated to MCC’s earthquake response in Haiti. All but $2.5 million has been allocated so far as we support Haitians as they rebuild their lives and address root problems that made the earthquake so devastating.
Looking back on four years of MCC’s earthquake recovery work, Kurt Hildebrand, MCC Haiti representative, is pleased with the results of the Desarmes projects and many others MCC completed in and around Port-au-Prince.
“The impact has been very real and very much felt and appreciated by families and organizations we are working with,” said Hildebrand. “They have a deep appreciation for ways we helped people to recover and improve the overall quality of life in communities. It’s a positive experience, knowing that people’s real life circumstances are changing, thanks to all the giving that has happened.”