|Walnees and her son, Danny Charles Pierre.|
Walnees Elmorin lives with her son Danny Charles Pierre. It’s a long, distinguished name of which Danny is proud. Walnees is pregnant, so Danny will have a little brother or sister soon. Since her husband left, Walnees will shoulder the burden of raising two children alone. Unfortunately, men abandoning their families is quite common in Haiti, much as it is in many inner cities in the United States. That is why Food for the Poor always titles a new house in the name of the family matriarch.
Danny, a shy but bright-eyed nine year-old, stole my niece's heart with his charm. To be honest, most of the children stole Amber's heart. However, with Danny, she just kept repeating, "He is sooo cute. He is sooo adorable." I think she would have tried to take him home, if not for the reality that she has enough on her plate just working her way through college.
Danny aspires to become a nurse when he grows up. His mother explained that he was not in school the day we visited because it was a holiday. Apparently, there was some dignitary in town that she wanted him to meet. [wink, wink!]
I looked Danny in the eye and told him, “Study hard. Education is very important.” Kate translated. As was her custom, Kate insisted that Danny promise he would.
|Walnees shares her dreams with us. Sometimes they seem so out of reach, but she has more hope for the future than ever before.|
I asked Walnees what she does to support her family. This time, Lesley translated her response. “She’s selfish,” he told me.
“What???” I asked completely confused and hoping that I had misunderstood. “She’s selfish???”
“No. No,” Lesley corrected me. “She sells fish.”
“Ohhh. That makes a lot more sense,” I responded. We all got a chuckle out of my confusion and our Abbott and Costello moment.
Curious, I asked Walnees, “Do you want to sell fish, or would you prefer to do something else?”
Walnees admitted that selling fish is not her first choice for making a living. She would prefer to operate a small business selling clothes. She explained that she could buy the clothes in Cap Haitien and bring them to Phaeton to sell. She believes that would be much more profitable. Finally, she shared that she believes there are lots of different things that she could do to make a better living for her family. She just lacks the means to make the initial investment needed to get started.
We directed our next question to Danny, “Tell us about your old house.”
He was quiet at first. With a little coaxing from Kate, Danny described the house as “awful and falling apart.” But he enthusiastically told us, “I love my new house!”
“Why?” Kate asked. “Is it because you have your own room?”
“No,” he answered, explaining that he had his own room in his old house. “I love my new house...because it is beautiful!”
We were privileged to be there when Walnees unlocked the door to their new house for the very first time. With the receipt of her new home, life for Walnees and her family improved significantly. I look forward to moving on to the sustainment portion of the project. I will be on cloud nine if we can help Walnees launch her dream business. Of course, in addition to a little capital to invest, she also requires training to effectively manage the business. Food for the Poor is already deep in thought regarding the best way to help families in the Village of Joy deal with these challenges.
Please consider making a donation to help. Food for the Poor wants to complete this project by the end of this year. That leaves eight months to raise the remaining $90,000 needed. Will you help?
Click here to Help 40 Families Escape Extreme Poverty.
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