This past Friday, February 14, the Gressier Model Village in Haiti was dedicated. This idea, implementation and finally realization of this model village has been a major part of the ELCA’s long-standing commitment to walk with our companions in Haiti, the Lutheran Church in Haiti (ELH), in their response to the devastating earthquake which struck the country in January 2010.
This model village is located in Gressier, southwest of the country’s capital Port-au-Prince. This area was heavily damaged after the earthquake and many people lost whatever home they had at that time. The village is an opportunity to not only rebuild the homes of those left most vulnerable after the earthquake but to also build up their community. The eventual 150 families living here will have eco-friendly homes, using things like rainwater catchment systems and solar panels to lessen their impact on and financial strain from services. They will also have a community space in which to gather and to share their voice, as each member has a say in the running of the village.
This example of what can be born from destruction, is an beautiful glimpse of Easter in this season of Lent. And of a church always being made new, never defined by the rubble but by the resurrection.
To hear one resident’s story, read this great feature from the Lutheran World Federation: A New Home She Never Dared to Hope for in Haiti