One of the first groups that Mercy Corps assisted in the Central Plateau was displaced students who left Port-au-Prince after their universities collapsed. We gave them temporary cash-for- work employment surveying local families to find out how many displaced people they were hosting and what their needs were.
With the wages they earned, the students bought food and other necessities. Some sent a portion to family members living elsewhere. The students valued the work — as well as what they learned about their country and neighbors in the process.
Moïse Mackendy, 23
“Everyone is suffering. When a host receives a displaced person, both live with a little more difficulty. But at the same time, the hosts are doing it wholeheartedly. Some are selling possessions or livestock to help these people. And they do it with a smile. Before the earthquake I was disappointed with how things were going in Haiti, but now I understand I must take a position and be one of the people who will make Haiti different.”
Cassandra Augustin Georges, 22
“One woman I spoke to said that she lost all three of her kids on January 12. No goodbyes. These kids had been taking care of her by sending money from the city. So now she has nothing, no way to get by. I gave her some of my own money, I was so touched by her situation. The experience changed me. I understand the necessity to do good to others. If I have something more, I must share it.”
Buldrine Pierre, 24
“I came upon several poor farmers who had received a lot of family from Port-au- Prince, but really did not have any means to feed them. The drought is hard. They can’t plant. They can’t find water. It saddens me when I see that people don’t have any way to make a living. Before January 12, I studied agronomy in Port-au-Prince. I hope to help put this land to productive use so it feeds people. I want to be a leader for development in Haiti.”