Haiti six months on: rebuilding livelihoods

Emergencies article written on the 08 Jul 2010

Photo: Kateryna Perus/Oxfam

In the neighbourhood of Delmas 33 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, our community canteen projects are helping people to earn an income, and eat healthy food.

Delmass 33 was extremely poor before the quake, and was badly damaged when it struck – most residents now live in tents.

But Oxfam’s seven community canteens have breathed new life into the area, and enabled us to work with locals like Marie Jeanne Cadet, supporting her financially so that she can feed 80 people in her community and make a profit for herself.

The community canteen is not so easy to spot, unless you know it is there. It is hiding from the glaring sun under plastic sheeting. Where the canteen stands was once a house, but now instead of guests at the living room table it hosts several families and a community canteen. It shares its spot with four tents in which live local residents whose houses were destroyed during the quake.
Photo: Gwenole Le Lagader/Oxfam

Photo: Kateryna Perus/Oxfam

Marie Jeanne Cadet owned a restaurant before the earthquake. Oxfam asked her if she would use her culinary skills and utensils to set up a community canteen to cook for people in need in Delmas 33.

Oxfam pays her a lump sum to buy the produce and she gets to keep any money left over. Every day she cooks for 14 families (totaling 80 people) from her house – one of the few that survived the quake. The food is rationed into plastic containers and distributed in the canteen where people await their meals.

Photo: Kateryna Perus/Oxfam

Marie Jeanne employs two helpers to assist her in the cooking and distribution of the meals. Rice and beans with some vegetables is a traditional Haitian meal for lunch and one of Marie Jeanne´s favourites.