Update: Destroyed Bakery Now Thriving

Hurricane Matthew, a cat 5 storm that devastated Haiti on Oct. 4-5, 2016, claimed 546 lives and produced $1.9 billion (U.S.) in damages. When we shared that ER partner Lemuel’s community was hit by the hurricane, many ER supporters stepped up to help by donating to a relief fund.

The community asked for help rebuilding its bakery, a business vital to feeding families on Haiti’s drought-stricken western plateau. Lemuel and ER agreed to help and the bakery was quickly rebuilt (scroll below to see the construction).

ER staff visited the bakery in November 2017 and found it both structurally sound producing some incredibly tasty bread. Thank you to everyone who supported the Hurricane Matthew relief fund and our work in Haiti!

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By Krischelle Frost, ER Staff Serving With Lemuel

(Jan. 22, 2017 Update)

When a bakery vital to a poor rural community in Haiti is destroyed, what ingredients are needed to restore it?

5 loads of river sand
2 loads of gravel
Several loads of wood
Tons of cement
Metal roofing
Nails, locks and hardware
4 masons
7 workmen
1 super ingredient – compassion

Like leaven that causes bread to rise, the compassion of donors and ER partner Lemuel helped raise a bakery from the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew.

Shortly after Hurricane Matthew devastated parts of Haiti Oct. 4-5, 2016, the community of Anse-Rouge gathered at Lemuel Ministries to assess the damage and determine how to move forward. Matthew left the western plateau area where Lemuel is located in bad shape. Houses were stripped of their mud walls, roads were impassable and businesses were unable to function.

Fortunately, ER donors and the Lemuel team were able to respond. Following is the story of a local bread baker, and how restoring this bakery is helping the entire community.

Enock is the owner of a bakery in Anse-Rouge. Not only does he bake his own bread to sell locally, but he also bakes bread for vendors who sell in other areas to make their own living.

Enock’s bakery supplies bread to a lot of people. When Hurricane Matthew and the ensuing flood waters came through Anse-Rouge, they slammed right into his bakery, completely destroying it.

When Lemuel held a meeting with the larger community, Enock stood up to share about his losses. Many of the people assembled were bread vendors or others who benefited from his business. Some of them shouted out that Enock did good deeds through his business.

Manis Dilus (Lemuel’s founder and director) asked the people if they wanted Lemuel to help Enock reconstruct his bakery. The answer was a resounding, “Yes!”

Using funds donated through Extreme Response International, Lemuel was able to help Enock rebuild his bakery even better than it was before.

“This business sustains me, my children, my wife…When I saw that it was lost, I felt like I was finished. But today, thanks to Lemuel, I am so happy! I thank all of the staff, because they helped me with the bakery, which also helps me support my family.”

Restoring the bakery started by digging trenches for a new foundation.

 

The footers required lots of cement and rock.

 

Local laborers were hired to put up the bakery’s new walls.

Workers had to pour the bakery’s floor by hand.

The result of materials + labor + compassion is a restored bakery, a business that will help sustain the community for years to come.

 

ER and Lemuel wish to thank donors for their support in the face of disaster. Your generosity has made a huge impact in the community of Anse-Rouge.

Scroll below to see some of the devastation Hurricane  Matthew wrought upon the Anse-Rouge community. To learn more about Lemuel, click here.

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(Oct. 19, 2016 update) ER’s Jenny Reitz Compere, who serves with partner House of Hope, a children’s home in northern Haiti, shares this update:

Greetings from the House of Hope. Linda and the kids asked me to thank you specifically for your prayers for us over the past few weeks. They are all doing well, the kids are in school and life seems pretty much back to normal. The only fallout for us from the big hurricane has been receiving more children into our home. We’ve already received about half a dozen from the affected areas in western Haiti and we anticipate that going up even further in the next few weeks.

House of Hope accepts some of the neediest of kids into their care. Many are abandoned, abused, neglected or orphaned. Some are injured or sick. Read more here in Jenny’s update.

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Hurricane Matthew Robs Shorty Of His Life Savings
(Oct. 18, 2016, update) ER partner Lemuel shared this story of an example of how Hurricane Matthew has robbed the members of the already poor community of Anse-Rouge, Haiti, of their few possessions.

We were standing alongside the road, watching the progress of repairs.  The mayor, and some others were there – including a man beloved by the community, whom we’ll call Shorty*.  He’s so beloved that no one actually knows his real name.  After being posted to Anse-Rouge by the government many years ago, Shorty realized that if he relied simply on his meager salary, he would never get very far.  So he began saving and slowly purchasing salt holes (where sea water is collected and evaporated to make salt).  For eleven years he has been stockpiling his salt.  This is like his income, investments, bank account, savings account and retirement fund all rolled into one.  He had multiple depots full of salt and 28 salt holes.  In less than 24 hours he lost everything.

Read the rest of the blog here.

Click here to make a donation in the U.S. to help the people who are vulnerable because of Hurricane Matthew. In Canada, click here to donate. Please designate your donation “Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund”.

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14731203_1310577565619338_1027427262961684787_n(Oct. 12, 2016 update) ER partner Lemuel is working with the community to help organize relief efforts following the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew in western Haiti. ER’s Krischelle Frost is serving with Lemuel and is providing frequent updates.

Yesterday afternoon, we had a meeting with people representing our community and all the surrounding communities. We listened to them speak about their losses from Matthew and what they saw as their priority needs.

The community 14568028_1221235827940185_7256131562709848088_nat large voted that the most important thing to address first was their gardens and the canals that bring vital water. “It is one thing to lose your house. You can rebuild that. But if you have lost your garden…that is your livelihood! How will you live?”

Most canals were totally destroyed during the hurricane. These canals are huge and long…some have 40, 50, 70+ families whose gardens depend on them for water. This morning, we convened the leaders who have stepped up to take action to fix these canals. The development department is in charge of working with them to develop a plan for how Lemuel can assist them.

Previously, the rural community celebrated the repair of the main road running to Anse-Rouge, allowing them to get to town for desperately needed supplies. The roads had been rendered impassable because flood waters had swamped them leaving deep pockets of water, huge ruts and mounds of debris.

One positive outcome from the hurricane is it left behind full water ponds. The plateau frequently suffers from severe drought. Families struggle to find drinking water for their gardens, livestock and their own needs.

The people in Anse-Rouge need our help. Click here to make a donation in the U.S. to help the people who are vulnerable because of Hurricane Matthew. In Canada, click here to donate. Please designate your donation “Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund”.

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(Oct. 10, 2016 update) Reuters is reporting that 1,000 people have died in Haiti as cholera has spread in the southwest part of the country. Authorities have resorted to burying people in mass graves in the hardest hit areas. 1.4 million people are in need of Humanitarian assistance.

ER’s Krischelle Frost has been updating the situation in Anse-Rouge, the area of western Haiti where ER partner Lemuel Ministries is serves a local community. The area experienced few human deaths, but many vital livestock were lost, homes were ripped open, and drinking water and food are scarce. Below is an excerpt from Lemuel’s eNewsletter.

We sat down with our leadership staff to assess the situation and discuss our response.  The major issues we are confronting include the destruction of the road, the loss of people’s gardens and livestock, and those homes that have been severely damaged. (Even as I write this, they are working to fix the road! That was one of our most immediate, urgent needs.)  

We are listening to our community to determine what they consider to be their greatest losses and priority needs. We want our response not only to help our community repair the damage and restore things to the way they were, but to move us a step FORWARD–to take measures that will prevent the exact same thing from being repeated all over again in the future. We are still developing the details.

You can read Krischelle’s latest eNewsletter here. Click here to make a donation in the U.S. to help the people who are vulnerable because of Hurricane Matthew. In Canada, click here to donate. Please designate your donation “Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund”.

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People in the community served by ER partner Lemuel are struggling. They need food, water and home repairs.

People in the community served by ER partner Lemuel are struggling. They need food, water and home repairs.

(Oct. 8, 2016 update) MSN is reporting 877 people have died in Haiti as a result of Hurricane Matthew. Communications and infrastructure remain fractured in much of Haiti.

14568244_1305740272769734_4983064228193756970_nER’s Krischelle Frost, Serving with Lemuel Ministries in Western Haiti, shared this update today.

“Yesterday, Manis, Judy and some others went to assess the road damage on the way to Anse-Rouge. They ended up making their way on foot around and through the mud. The damage to the road is significant, and is probably one of the greatest concerns we have at the moment. Certainly, no one can go anywhere by vehicle for a while. We have heard the road to Gonaives is currently impassible, and we are doing some reconnaissance to see if or when motorcycles can at least get through.

Although we usually are not able to count much on government assistance here, we were thankfully able to make contact with the new, recently elected mayor of the Anse-Rouge commune. He has been trying to get large machinery from the government to assist with road repair. Unfortunately, the demand is so large that he has been unable as of yet to obtain any. It will make a HUGE difference if we are able to develop a relationship and work together with the mayor to repair the road.”

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(Oct. 6, 2016 update)

Lemuel Ministries has anchored the destitute community of Anse-Rouge on western shores of Haiti for many years. Life on the plateau is always difficult. Every day, the community faces extreme drought, deforestation, poverty and a lack of opportunities.

Now, they’ve been dealt another serious blow. Hurricane Matthew has devastated western Haiti, killing vital livestock, ripping mud siding from the fragile homes and turning the area’s notoriously bad roads into impassable creek beds.

This home's mud siding was stripped from the walls, leaving occupants open to the elements.

This home’s mud siding was stripped from the walls, leaving occupants open to the elements.

ER staffer Krischelle Frost, who serves at Lemuel, has been keeping people updated on Facebook. In between category-four storm winds, torrential downpours, flooding and power outages, she shared the following.

“The worst if the hurricane hit us at night, so people could not assess their damages until the following morning. Apart from their home, they have their garden and their animals, which may be at some distance from their house. News about more and more losses and the extent of damage came in all day.

The lack of mud siding has left hundreds open to the elements.

The lack of mud siding has left hundreds open to the elements.

The amount of rainwater runoff that came raging down through the ravine was colossal. It didn’t stay in the ravine. Gardens were obliterated. Many will have to be completely re-dug out and cleared of rocks brought by the water. One family lost their entire plantain harvest. Another lost their huge stockpile of charcoal to sell. More and more are counting their losses in animals. All these are losses of livelihood, in addition to the damage to their homes.

Hurricane Matthew turned this vital road into a creek bed.

Hurricane Matthew turned this vital road into a creek bed.

The road simply to Anse-Rouge is completely impassible. It will need extensive repair. We can’t rely on the government for this, so we are planning to set up Cash-4-Work to repair the road. We have no idea what the road to Gonaïves is like, but it may be quite a while before we can go anywhere.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for praying! Internet and electricity for charging devices have been ongoing challenges, but we will continue to update as possible.”

Extreme Response wants to help. We’ve set up a “Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund” to accept donations to help Lemuel as they support their community. What we know today is this:

Despite attempts to protect their sheep, this family also lost its flock.

Despite attempts to protect their sheep, this family also lost its flock.

*Livestock have died during the storm (vital for milk, food)

*Homes have lost mud siding, roofs and power

*Roads have been flooded or washed out

*Water, which is always in short supply in the community, is contaminated

*People are exposed to the elements because of damage to their homes

Click here to make a donation in the U.S. to help the people who are vulnerable because of Hurricane Matthew. In Canada, click here to donate. Please designate your donation “Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund”.

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