Beverage seller shares his business priorities in Port-au-Prince

Beverage seller shares his business priorities in Port-au-Prince

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Jun 14, 2011
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Pierre Henri Erlus is an IDP (Internally Displaced Person) who lived above the Canape Vert tent camp location. He had built his house and small beverage business on rented land. He now lives in the tent camp with his family, but his business is keeping them afloat.

Over the past year Pierre has managed to purchase a piece of property with a collapsed house on it adjacent to the camp. The land cost $30,000 US and was owned by a Haitian living in New Jersey. Pierre has already paid $20,000 and has built a small building to hold his beverage inventory.

Pierre spent $4,000 to 5,000 Haitian Dollars ($500 to 630 USD) for materials for the building–probably mostly for cement and metal roofing as the wood looked salvaged and block/rebar were likely salvaged from the collapsed house on his new property. He built the building himself not knowing who owned the land, for his wife who had run the business in the prior location. The building was built roadside within the boundary of the camp and appeared to be well managed. The business makes $100HTD ($12.50 US) per day which supplements his income as a sales manager for Tropico. Pierre appeared to be a well-known and respected leader within the camp community.

When asked about small loans, he said he was not interested in the small loans offered by Fonkoze or Acme. Priority building for him would be to take care of his family first by building a home, then to expand his business.

Pierre Henri Erlus in front of his beverage business. Interviews conducted by Architecture or Humanity with the United States Green Building Council. Interviews continue this month for the Economic Corridors mapping project.