(Gordy, Emily, Caroline, and Frank are pictured together below, with Craig, a fellow advocate who sat in on the second interview with Nadege to take notes and observe)
At the age of three, Nadege began attending school and continued until age nine, when she was forced to drop out because her father could no longer afford it (something that happens frequently within Haitian families). When asked if she knew any French for the purposes of evaluating the length of her education (as children in Haiti begin to learn French around age twelve if they are still in school), Nadege reported that she did not know any. Nadege enjoyed mathematics, but modestly denied having an aptitude for it.
Though YSI currently funds her son’s education, Nadege’s primary source of stress is the education of all of her children. At the time of this interview in January 2016, Nadege cares for two young children and is eight months pregnant with a third. Her son attends school in Bineau, which is about a thirty minute walk from Nadege’s home in Morel. Nadege told us that her son’s favorite subjects are singing and drawing, and that she hopes he becomes a doctor or policeman. However, she also mentioned that the choice is ultimately his to make once he finishes school. It was apparent to all members of the team that Nadege was very cognizant of the long-term benefits of her children finishing school.
Emotionally, Nadege states that she is healthy, happy, and laughs frequently. Playing with her children relaxes her, and she says it makes her the most happy. She often stresses about not being able to provide food for her children or a proper lunch for her son during the school day. Nadege prepares rice and beans for the children and buys meat when she can afford it. She estimates that she only purchases meat for the children once per week. When receiving support from YSI, she estimates this frequency at three times per week. Nadege is very thin and repeated many times that she needed more money for food.
Nadege struggles to find water just as much as anyone else in Pont Morel when the local wells dry up. She does not currently work for a wage, nor has she ever. Her only reported source of income is 500 gourdes monthly, which she receives as a remittance from her father in the Dominican Republic, who works in a rum refinery. Nadege also mentioned that she receives limited, sporadic support from the father of her first born son, but she does not maintain a strong relationship with him. Nadege revealed that she would be open to running a business. She was able to name a commodity she would be interested in selling--soaps and perfumes--but did not discuss any further details for a business plan. There is already another domestic seller located less than a mile away who sells soaps. Running a business would require relocating to a marketplace, but Nadege testifies that there is no marketplace on her commute to Bineau where her son’s school is. Commuting to a marketplace is not feasible, as none of her children are old enough to watch the others, and she feels a new mother should ideally be at home with her child. Even just commuting to school will be difficult.
Nadege lives in a Habitat for Humanity house with her three children. She pays no rent to live in the house and the land has been in her family since her grandmother’s generation. Nadege maintains a relationship with a man who lives in Léogâne. She met this man three years ago when he was in the community visiting family and spoke to her on the main road. She met him around the same time that her sister was killed by Nadege’s brother-in-law. Nadege stays with this gentleman a few times per week. He is a carpenter in Léogâne and likely does not support Nadege overtly or at all. It is highly likely that he is the father of the child she is currently pregnant with. When Nadege visits him, she brings her second child (age one and a half years) but leaves her four year old son with neighbors. The carpenter may father both her second and third children. We are unsure if the carpenter’s wife knows about Nadege.
Our Community Development team was able to make the following recommendations for Nadege:
• Pay for books and other expenses
• Nadege’s walk to school is far too time-consuming and needs to be reduced
• Prioritize access to health care above all other cases to ensure the child is delivered in circumstances that are healthy to both the mother and child
• Provide the necessary measures to prevent unwanted pregnancy
• Larger food budget
• Provide a small business grant