sábado, 24 de marzo de 2012

Ghislaine Perard

I wrote this on pieces of paper March 12th but am just now getting to post it: 

This afternoon, Eclezyas knocked on the door and said that there was someone who wanted to talk to me.

"Who is it?" 

"Yon ayisyenn," which means, a Haitian woman.

I stepped out the door. Eclezyas did a quick introduction and then said he would leave us alone to talk. Her name was Ghislaine Perard, AKA Jaqueline. She had been searching for help with her two kids and someone had advised her to talk to Catalina in Los Dominguez (me). She has two little girls: 6 months old and a year and a half. And she described that they are suffering. She breast feeds her six month old but can't eat and drink well enough herself to always have a good milk supply. She can barely feed her one and a half year old and is never able to buy milk for her. She described that her toddler has a dry cough and the whole situation breaks her heart. She explained more details as to the extremity of her poverty, saying she can't afford diapers so she uses waddled clothing but has little money to get laundry detergent as well, in order to wash clothes regularly. Neighbors say they can't accept her anymore because of the pee smell this causes. She is really struggling.

She is from Port-au-Prince. Both her parents died when she was little. She found the opportunity to travel to Canada and stay with a Canadian family she met in Haiti. They got a passport and VISA for her and accepted her into their home. She spent lots of time canning vegetables and learning about life in Canada. I didn't catch the amount of time she spent in Canada. Now her VISA has expired. She describes herself as intelligent, hard-working, and eyes opened to the world. She so much wants to work but her two small children "tie her feet". She is too tired and feels as though she can't go on as she is.

After the earthquake in January 2012, Ghislaine moved to the Dominican Republic and acquired a male partner. She did not take birth control after they had their first child in poverty. When she became pregnant with their second child, her partner asked her to abort the baby. She refused. He left her when she was two months pregnant and she hasn't seen him or heard from him since.

So now she is in this situation where she can't take care of her two kids. She does not really want to put them up for adoption because they are the only family she has. But she wants a life for them. She feels as though if she had freedom and opportunity to work then she could make something happen. I told her if she did want to put one up for adoption, I could likely help to facilitate. The girls have Dominican birth certificates. Of course, this is heartbreaking when women who are healthy and fully desire to raise their children cannot because they have no support and no opportunity, but I have been beaten down by the reality of the way people think and I don't want her children to suffer. This is why I offer. People will spend lots of money when they are in control of something, but are slow to give when it puts someone else in control. And most people who will support something to save its life will soon abandon the cause afterwards. Take the earthquake for example. Many people jumped in to help out when they knew people were dying by the hundreds and thousands, but most didn't do much when they were living miserably before hand and they don't do anything when they are living even more miserably afterwards... I am used to pleaing for cases, I know how these things work, (inconsistent response that doesn't work well when there are consistent needs), and I can no longer commit to helping people without knowing that someone or some group who has the financial capability is committed to backing it up.

I also asked about the family that had supported her in Canada. She has lost contact and is embarrassed to contact them, feeling as though they will be disappointed in her because she has two kids. I tried to tell her how ridiculous that is. I asked her age but could tell that she was not terribly young. She answered 30. I shared my thoughts that it's completely understandable for a woman 30 years old to have two kids and no one should think anything negative about her for that. She is a human being and that is just a part of life. Her extreme lack of opportunity is what should not be a part of life.

I also said that if they were older and she moved to Muñoz or Padre Granero, her daughters could be in one of our grassroots schools and that we always search for funding so that the schools can feed students. Lord, please help Ghislaine and her two daughters. Please don't let them suffer anymore.

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