After Hurricane Matthew: Jude's Story

Jude Jasmin with his wife, Alexandra Pierre, who is eight months pregnant.

Jude Jasmin with his wife, Alexandra Pierre, who is eight months pregnant.

On a recent Saturday morning, a funeral convoy is slowly making its way to the cemetery. It’s 8:00 a.m. and heavy clouds prevent the sun from shining over the village of Roseaux, southwest Haiti.  Coconuts trees have lost their leaves, banana and mango trees litter the ground. Like many of the buildings in this seaside town, the Catholic church has lost a significant part of its roof. 

People begin lining up in front of the public school as two PADF trucks with humanitarian aid approach. Women, elderly, and disabled people receive priority in line. Perched on his crutch, Jude Jasmin waits patiently for his turn to enter the school yard. Residents are givven a choice between a food kit or a personal hygiene kit. Jude emerges from the crowd with a hygiene kit including soap, toothpaste, water treatment tablets and other items.

“I chose this kit because to be in good health, one has to cultivate proper hygiene,” he says. “To me, these are important and I am pleased.”

Jude receives a hygiene kit from the PADF aid truck.

Jude receives a hygiene kit from the PADF aid truck.

Jude lives near the Catholic church. Today, his house is made of a few metal sheets, wood planks, and a tarp.  Humbly, he invites us inside.  His wife, Alexandra, is eight months pregnant. She sits on an uncomfortable bed made of wooden planks and covered with fabric scraps. 

“We live here,” Jude says.  With emotion, he recounts the night of horror when Hurricane Matthew struck. 

“We were in bed when hurricane force winds started blowing very loudly. A tree broke and landed on the roof of our little house,” Jude says. A branch hit him on the shin.

Since that night, Jude can hardly walk.  He can’t work as a moto-taxi driver anymore so he has been unable to provide for his pregnant wife.  Jude's father has been disabled for several years. He manages to feed himself thanks to his mother, who lives next door.  Jude and his wife are still living in their damaged house. His mother’s house also suffered extensive damage due to Hurricane Matthew. 

“The metal sheets went out in all directions and we were so scared,” she says, sitting on the floor stirring a pot. 

Jude does not know the sex of his child yet.  He can’t afford to pay for the sonogram.  He hopes his foot heals quickly so he can resume work in order to fulfill his role as a father.

Jude invites the camera into his parent's home after Hurricane Matthew.