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CHF Haiti: Starting a New Life in Limonade

Published 01/07/2011 by Global Communities

Starting a New Life in Limonade
“I like Limonade,” says 17-year old Marie Zobo, referring to the town close to Cap Haitien in the north of Haiti. “It is safer here than in Port-au-Prince,” she explains. Marie came to Limonade on January 26, a couple of weeks after the January 12th earthquake that hit Haiti. She and her family came to stay with their relatives in Limonade after their home was destroyed completely during the earthquake.
She is staying with her aunt Adeline Colin, who welcomed her and 22 other extended family members into her home after Haiti’s earthquake in January left more than one million homeless and destitute. “I did what needed to be done to get all my family members to leave Port-au-Prince and come here,” says Marie’s aunt.
Yet Marie’s parents lost everything during the earthquake – not only their home, but also their small trade business which provided their live-lihood. When they were able to find transport to get to Limonade, they arrived with absolutely nothing. Her aunt in Limonade has a very small income of her own – but certainly not enough to cover the feeding and caring for over twenty family members.
CHF International perceiving a need to help not only the IDPs but also the host families welcoming them started up a Host Family Assistance program. The idea is to be able to help the hosts, allow the guests to retain their dignity and hopefully make this situation work well enough that it can be prolonged at least until the tropical storm season is over.
CHF with USAID funds has been able to register 587 households to benefit from this assistance program in the communities of Cap Haitien, Limbe and Limonade.
“The other kids at the school really welcomed me and took care of us,” says Marie who was able together with her sister Rose, 14, to enroll in the school at Limonade through one of the School Fees vouchers that CHF offered the Host Family households. Her sister Rose has had a more difficult time adapting because of the trauma she lived through during the earthquake. “I was at school on the fourth floor when the building collapsed,” says Rose in a soft hardly audible voice. “I was trapped in the rubble and both my legs were broken but thankfully I was pulled out to safety. But two of my friends died next to me.”
Rose says she wants to continue studying in order to become a “manager”. She says that she hopes that way “I will learn how to better manage my life.”
Her sister Marie says she wants to finish her studies and become a doctor because she likes how doctors take care of people. She likes it in Limonade. “I feel at ease here and if I am given the means to continue my studies here I will stay to live in Limonade. In Port-au-Prince you can find anything you want,” she says but adds, “but there is no security, while here in Limonade one lives in peace.”