Andre Jean and family

Andre Jean had relocated from Port-au-Prince to Léogâne just months before the 2010 earthquake. He was seeking a better life for his family in a more rural setting.

“When you live in Port-au-Prince, you’re not really at peace, because sometimes you hear gunshots and protests and everything,” he recalls. “When you live in the countryside, you feel much, much better. You live in peace.”

Unfortunately, Léogâne was near the epicenter of the January 2010 earthquake. The two-story rental house where Andre and his family lived was turned into rubble within a matter of seconds.

“As we ran out of our house, we saw it collapsing,” he says.

Andre has rebuilt his life, moving his family into a home built as part of the 2011 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. And he has transformed every centimeter of land surrounding his house into a lush garden brimming with vegetables, fruit trees and flowers.

“This is our contribution to making this community look great,” he says proudly.

He has fond memories of working alongside volunteers who came in 2011 to help build 155 houses.

“It was a glorious thing to see so many people from different countries coming here to build with us,” he says. “They are really friends of Haiti.

“When you do good things, God will reward you,” he adds. “You can’t enjoy the good things without making sacrifices.”

Andre has few proper tools, so he does most of the planting and weeding in his garden by hand. Now that he has a house and a small plot of land to call his own, he is able to feed his family and to earn income.

And for the first time in a long time, he and his family feel safe.

“We can sleep with our eyes closed,” he says. “This is a good change.”