Along the road we stopped to check a community noticeboard just outside one of the shelters we had built. The owner saw us pull up and came barefoot up the steep slope to the side of the road. A tiny, slight, elderly lady, she bounded up to us and greeted us in Creole. She invited us to come and have a look inside her house. We stepped gingerly down the rocky slope to her front door, where she was already waiting for us.
In rapid Creole she explained how she used to live in a dilapidated house which would be battered by the wind and rain on the hillside, and often flood during the rainy season. ‘But now, it is dry’, she said, pointing at the floor of her sparsely decorated yet homely shelter, with bright curtains adding colour to the simple construction. She was delighted with her new home and scrambled back up the slope to wave us off with a big smile.
A crack of thunder heralded our departure, and as the wind picked up and the rain clouds descended I thought of her in her little wooden shelter buffeted by the wind and the rain on the mountainside. I wrote this later that evening, accompanied by the boom of thunder overhead, inside one of the model shelters we have on site for staff staying overnight, and as the rain hammered down I had a taste of what it must feel like to call this home.