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Haitian Eatery Serves Up Taste Of Hope Amid Despair

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Haitian Eatery Serves Up Taste Of Hope Amid Despair

Latin America

Haitian Eatery Serves Up Taste Of Hope Amid Despair

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Some Haitians in Port-au-Prince are not waiting for outside help.

NPRs Tamara Keith takes us to a restaurant where neighbors are helping neighbors.

TAMARA KEITH: Muncheez is open for business. But it's nothing like it was before the earthquake. The corner pizza place that was too expensive for most Haitians to enjoy is now serving rice and beans, chicken, spaghetti, anything the owners can get their hands on, and it's all free. Co-owner Gilbert Bailly says it started the day after the earthquake when he realized his ingredients would spoil before anyone would have the wherewithal to buy a pizza.

Mr. GILBERT BAILLY (Co-Owner, Muncheez): So instead of losing the food, we said let's cook the food and give it away to people that needs it. And then two days after, we are running out of diesel, running out of gas, running out of food. We had people that has businesses and started to bring food to us. And we are doing that since.

KEITH: When donations from other businesses in the neighborhood ran out, Bailly's nephew gathered money from friends and brought in a truckload of food from the Dominican Republic. Now Bailly has a Facebook page and is trying to get additional help that way.

Mr. GILBERT: As long as I have stuff to give, Im going to keep doing it. It keeps myself busy. It gives me hope.

KEITH: Muncheez is feeding 1,000 people a day. Around Port-au-Prince, in small ways people are doing the same thing, sharing food with their neighbors, trying to stretch every morsel. Lines are wrapped around the building when the restaurant finally opens its doors in the late afternoon. Some have been waiting for hours. Leonce Bell is 40-years-old and has just been handed a plate of spaghetti and a cup of water. When the earthquake hit, he lost his house and his job. Now his family is living in a public park with thousands of others where food is hard to come by.

Mr. LEONCE BELL: (Through translator) It's been a long time since I have eaten. The water, we find it easily. When they are giving out food to the people, they are fighting for it and sometimes it's not even enough.

KEITH: Bell hasn't eaten in three days, and he doesn't plan to touch the plate of food he's holding. He's saving it for his child.

Mr. BELL: (Through translator) It is amazing, because I can find food easily here, where in other places I cannot find any.

KEITH: World Vision, an international aid group, recently found out about the improvised soup kitchen at Muncheez and is bringing in trucks carrying sacks of dry food. Now, along with their meal, people get bags of bulgur and lentils to take back to their families. Bailly hopes it eases some of the pain.

Tamara Keith, NPR News, Port-au-Prince.

SHAPIRO: Tamara just introduced us to a Haitian man saving a plate of a spaghetti for his child. But thousands of children lost their parents in the earthquake. Many are living in makeshift camps with no one to care for them.


Save The Children, an aid group based in Connecticut, has set up child spaces in some of the camps. These are areas cordoned off to let the children can play with supervision. The aid group is also working with UNICEF and the Red Cross, hoping to locate any relatives of the children who survived the earthquake.

If you would like to donate to the charities involved in earthquake relief efforts, you'll find a list of some of them at

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