|Posing with Eldine and Mike. Eldine's husband was working when we visited.|
Five year-old Mike Senisse St. Elad is a shy preschooler. Curious, he followed us as we toured their new home. To draw him out, I asked what he thought of his new house. He giggled but remained quiet at first. With some encouragement from Kate, he proudly escorted us to his room where he sprawled out on his bed as if to say, “This is my room!”
Mike and his parents are very proud of their new life. His mom, Eldine, told us she was one of the people who helped decorate the pavilion at the beach where we ate lunch when we visited last June. She had not been selected for a house at that point, but she worked hard to make everything perfect for our visit, and she hoped to be selected one day. When we met her in March, she told us, “I am very happy to see you so I can thank you in person.”
Before they received their new house, the St. Elad’s rented a house in Phaeton for $100 per year.
What can you rent for $8.33 per month in Haiti?
|Talking to Eldine about what she'd like to do to make a living.|
It isn’t pretty. Like most houses in Phaeton, it is made of sticks and mud and comes complete with a leaky roof. Eldine told us, when it rained, the water poured into the house, often ruining their possessions. In her opinion, the house should have been condemned and torn down, but they were living there because they couldn’t afford anything better.
Eldine’s husband is a fisherman. He doesn’t own a boat so he works for another man who does. Eldine would like to work, but she stays home because she hasn’t been able to find a job. She expressed interest in selling curtains. It’s not a bad idea. Everyone hangs curtains in all their doorways.
I asked if she wants to buy curtains to sell or if she wants to make them. She had not considered making them. While she knows how to sew, she does not own a sewing machine.
Kate told me Food for the Poor regularly receives sewing machines that run on a foot pedal as gifts-in-kind from the manufacturer. She committed to trying to find one to give to Eldine.
Of course, Eldine will also need a small investment to purchase fabric, and she will likely require training to handle the operations side of running a small business.
I can tell you from personal experience, there is no greater feeling in the world than to know that you helped alleviate the suffering of another human being. You have the opportunity to help radically change the lives of forty families living in the Village of Joy. The return on your investment will be greater than you can imagine.
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