Poverty is Misery

What an uplifiting title for this post…. I bet you’re excited to read.

During our interviews (conducted in kreyol) the Solid Women use the word misery and the word poverty interchangeably. When you see the life of a Haitian peasant up close, the opportunities for misery peak out of every nook and cranny.

Lozelle told us that when the weather is bad, she “tells her children to patient.” When that doesn’t work, they eat leaves from a nearby tree. Mariette (the vivacious group leader) is a mover and shaker. But she couldn’t build her business with the loans from loan sharks that charged up to 20% interest. Perhaps most heartbreaking was Seden’s story. She told us, “I couldn’t move, I couldn’t do anything.” In the end, misery can manifest itself in this state of paralysis. We’ve seen it often here in Haiti…. people just sitting on the side of a busy street. Waiting.

Fonkoze did not erase misery from these women’s lives. On the contrary each day brings a new struggle. But for each of them it seems the first time in their lives they’ve been provided with an active opportunity to change their circumstances. In fact it was the other four women who came to Seden and said “You can’t just sit around all day. Come on… get up, we’re going to join Fonkoze together.” And they did.

I keep coming back to the above picture of Seden. As we take photos/videos we’re hoping to balance the beauty evident in the country, work and faces of these women, with the reality that misery exist in abundance here. There is something subtle about her look that works in this direction…there is a nuance I can’t put into words.


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