Guilane Antoine was excited to see us. While I wanted to get to know her and her family, she didn’t care much about that. She wanted to make sure we saw their current living conditions. As a result, she didn’t engage in conversation, hoping that we would ask for a tour afterward. She took the bull by the horns and insisted we see her home first. “Come in. Come in,” she told Kate in Creole the moment we arrived at her house. Then she quickly disappeared through the front door, looking back and gesturing for us to follow. “Oh,” Kate responded, raising her eyebrows in surprise. “She wants us to see her house first.”
|Posing with the Antoine family in front of their current home. They will be one of the next five families to receive a new home in the Village of Joy.|
After Guilane showed us everything she felt we needed to see in her four room house, she allowed us to ask questions. We learned that she lives in the house with her seventy year-old father and two children, a five year-old boy and a two year-old girl. Her son is old enough to attend kindergarten, but he stays home due to a problem with his right leg. Guilane pulled up his pant leg to show us. I couldn’t see from where I was standing, but both Kate and Amber told me later that I was lucky. They said his leg looked very badly infected—perhaps beyond saving.
Food for the Poor doesn’t have the means to help every person they encounter with every need they have—the needs are too great. However, Food for the Poor can get involved and facilitate care in situations where donors agree to cover the extra expenses. I couldn’t commit to covering the costs without more information, but I asked Food for the Poor to find out what is needed. I hope we can help. [NOTE: If you are interested in helping with medical expenses for Guilane’s son, please let me know.]
We also learned that Guilane is a kindergarten teacher at a small private school nearby. She loves to teach, but it is clear from their living conditions that she doesn't get paid very much. She is the sole breadwinner for her family. Her father stays home to look after his grandchildren. During his working days, he was a fisherman. His posture changed as he talked about it. He straightened up and stood tall, as he proudly declared, "I was the captain of my own boat, and I caught really big fish."
Kate asked Guilane’s father what his hopes are for his grandchildren. He said he hopes his grandson will become a farmer, and he hopes his granddaughter will become a nurse. When Kate asked about his hopes for his new home, he said, "The new house will give us a new life.” Then, almost as if to correct himself, he added, "God is giving us this new life!" One of the most exciting things about the new house they will receive is the bathroom. They already received training on its use and maintenance, and they look forward to putting that training to good use!
For everyone who has supported the Village of Joy, Guilane’s father has a special message for you: “May God be with you always.” Thank you from the bottom of my heart, as well!
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