Oklahomans Help Rebuild Haitian Village Years After Devastating Quake
A powerful earthquake devastated Haiti eight years ago this month, killing more than 200,000 people.
A group of Oklahomans is on a mission to help rebuild the country.
News On 6 traveled to Haiti to see the progress they’re making and the work that still needs to be done.
It's an island where the mountains and the water take your breath away.
8 years ago, the country was devastated.
More than 200,000 Haitians were killed in the 7.0 earthquake.
Executive Director of Mission Direct Haiti Papitass Dervil Joseph guided News On 6 through Haiti.
He said after all this time, most areas have not recovered.
In Traveaux, many Haitians fled to the mountains to escape flooding after the quake.
Families are barefoot and hungry.
One little boy is starving; he doesn't even notice the fly on his lip.
“Most people in the village just like this. No shoes. No clothes and then no food no water no houses,” said Joseph.
Villager Marilyn Joseph has no electricity at her house.
Peas and rice is the only food she has left.
Marilyn speaks English, which is more than most in Traveaux.
Marilyn lived in the United States for 7 years, where she had two daughters.
But she was deported, leaving her kids in America for a better life.
This was 8 years ago. Marilyn made it back to Haiti, just in time for the worst.
“Everything come inside my house,” she said.
“My dad. My sister. My brother. Yea. Everybody die,” Marilyn said.
All she has now is an unstable house on the mountain and the man above.
“Every day, I just watch my sun. I say only god. They my life,” she said.
Marilyn walks miles to be closer to God.
For the first time since the quake, she and her neighbors have a place to do just that.
A sweet sound through an open field comes from a church.
It's newly built by an Oklahoma nonprofit called Mission Direct Haiti.
Papitass is the local representative, working side by side with founder Tijunia Hudson out of Oklahoma City.
The church is only the beginning.
Tijunia and Papitass are working on a hospital and a school with free education.
Their goal is a home for every person in Traveaux.
It's already getting started; the first home in the village is standing.
The money is donated by Oklahomans but built by Haitians.
“We pay it forward here. And then the next village, this village, will pay it forward to the next village. That's my dream,” Hudson said.
The reality is miracles won't happen overnight.
Most villagers will wake up tomorrow still hungry.
“I can't say nothing's been done but what I can say we have a long road ahead of us,” said Hudson.
But the mission brings hope.
“Hope. That is correct. It brings them hope,” Hudson said.
They pray together in Creole or English; it doesn't matter.