My Story: Owner of House 103

By Michael Shaferly

Michael Shaferly with owner of house 103, Olive Francois.
Michael Shaferly with owner of house 103, Olive Francois.

How did the 2010 earthquake affect you?

I was leaving the city and walking to my place of work. I felt the earth shake, and I thought it was the motorcycle beside me that made the ground shake. Then, I saw the motorcycle was shaking, too. I didn’t know what was happening.

I looked around and saw walls falling. Some people around me were shouting that it was an earthquake. We don’t have earthquakes in Haiti so we didn’t know what to do. Nobody prepared us for this.

The first house I went by had fallen, and a child had died there. I went to my house, and it was already destroyed. Everyone in the area was looking and looking for someone. We searched all through the day and slept on the ground that night.

The next day everyone was out wandering around. We gathered at a school but stayed outside because the building was unsafe. We lived in the school yard all of 2010.

In 2011, some foreigners came and brought tents. So, we lived in tent communities all of that year.

In 2012, we were still living in a tent. One night I was praying, and then I went to sleep. Someone threw something into the fire outside, and it exploded and started a big fire which caught my tent on fire. I woke up and grabbed the two children sleeping beside me and took them outside the tent. My tent was very close to the next tent. The lady and her children in that tent all died. It’s by the grace of God that I am still living. I thank God for that.

After the earthquake my thoughts were scattered, and I wasn’t sure what to do. I had a lot of merchandise that I could sell. The landlord had a store in the city, and he gave me space to store my merchandise. Every morning I would go and take some of the things to sell and leave the rest there. Then, in the afternoon, I would buy things I needed.

One day I went to the store and found that thieves had broken in, looted, and taken everything. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I had bought merchandise on credit and thieves had taken it all.

In church they told me I had a Good Shepherd who takes care of me now. I had lost everything, and I couldn’t pay for anything. I thought I wouldn’t live, but by the grace of God I’m still here.

Then in 2012, foreigners came again and built homes for many who had lost everything in the earthquake. I thank God that I have the keys to house 103.

Homes for Haiti house 103 under construction.
Homes for Haiti house 103 under construction.

What does this house mean to you?

I take my hat off to you. I have a responsibility to pray for you, who built this house, and for spiritual understanding how I use this house.

Since the fire in my tent, I was out on the streets, sleeping in other people’s homes. So, I love you…not more than God, of course. He comes first. But I love you with all my heart.

I’m so happy today. When I’m happy, I cry. You gave me keys to a home. I never imagined this could happen. I didn’t know how I could even pay to rent a home after losing my business. How can I pray for you? I’m so happy. I am asking God to bless you. May God come and hold your hand and cover you. Thank you so much.