Change on the Horizon

Capvva making steps of progress

The community of Capvva poses after a community cleanup. The cleanup was evidence of how much those that live in Capvva want to work together for the good of the community. © James Dorzil  2011

Getting water is one of the challenges that Capvva faces. The community is collaborating to build a well and hopes to start work in early 2012. © Clemson Saint-fleur 2011

Their world was turned upside down since Jan. 12, 2010 and it has been an everyday struggle since. The more privileged ones have left, abandoning tents to move back into homes/more stable housing arrangements. But there remains at least 1,000-1,500 residents, maybe more, still struggling for survival and longing for something better.

Those in Capvva, a tent village outside of Haiti’s Cite Solieil, have been forced to live as squatters since the massive earthquake destroyed swaths of housing. Sadly, in two years, not much has changed. But there is a sense, now more than ever before, that change is on the horizon—because the people have made a solid commitment to each other and collaborating together for a better life.

This ‘strength-through-unity’ ideal is a foundation of Join the Journey’s community mobilization strategy, which seeks to connect those in equally desperate situations and motivate them to identify issues and work for resolutions as a collective. The strategy is part of a larger effort to the reconcile relationships—through Christ (Col 1:18)—to the Creator, self, land and one another.

Beginning in May of this year, Capvva residents began meeting together once a week in two specialized committees, one focused on agricultural development and the other concentrating on making improvements to the community overall. Much of the initial meetings were training-focused and informational, as JTJ sought to align hearts of the participating group members to work together and focus on the right areas for change. Project management, of any type, is often difficult to grasp, and Capvva community members have spent much of this year learning to identify the issues and plan out methods to resolve those issues.

As a result of this type of collaboration, Capvva residents worked together for a massive clean-up, clearing away destroyed tents and fixing others. It was a victory for Capvva, just in seeing what teamwork can bring. The agricultural-focused group—realizing that water is an absolute necessity for plant growth—have designed plans for a well. That project is still being assessed and plans being made but there are obvious signs that the people are making collaborative steps.

As reconstruction continues throughout Haiti, with many new housing projects yet to break ground, Capvva’s future is uncertain. But the people are now empowered to make changes themselves. They have put their trust in God and each other. Sharing each other’s burdens, they are now determined to see change.