As many of you know, I have the privilege to be part of an amazing non-profit called Reach Out LaFond. Their mission is to provide education right in the children’s own community. Thus allowing them to have a hope for their future while being able to stay at home with their family.
In 2015 was my first trip there after years of being called to service in the country. With all the ways in which God wanted me to be there, I declined them all with fear on the mind, self-doubt and being unsure. Walking into a massage for the first time, the woman working on me started to talk about her trips to Haiti and I just knew I had to go with her. Without asking too many questions, I trusted her to take me for the first time to Haiti to do God’s work. From there this woman not only become a role model of trusting God’s plan and being fearful but she became a sincere friend.
Over the years I have watched the women in the LaFond, Haiti village I visited every year. I watched their strength and in 2017, I had the opportunity to go and interview multiple women.
This is a new series on Self Love Beauty called ‘The Strong Women of Haiti’. These women have taught me so much that I cannot wait to share with each of you. I recently wrote an article about A 60 Minute Mountain Walk Changed My Life and it is the first of the series. Be sure to check it out along with Madam Blanc’s story below.
“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4
Madam Blanc’s Story
When I arrived to the mountain in LaFond, Haiti, I was greeted by many children in the village eagerly waiting for our arrival. I gave lots of hugs out and then started to set up my bed which was in a room near the school. I decided to start interviewing women right away and start with the women that lived closet to the school. My first interview of the day was with Madam Blanc. She lived 10 minutes away from the school. That day it was a pretty warm day and the 10 minute walk to her home was filled with hills, some roads of brick and others of dirt. Many people walk this everyday in flip flops or not shoes at all. The hills are never straight, lots of stepping stones and chances of failing. In the states, we don’t really deal with this unless we are hiking. So imagine if this was your every day walk to work?
When I got to Madam’s home, she was waiting for me with open arms. I am smiling just picturing her greeting me. I mean imagine someone who hasn’t seen you in over a year, just waiting for you? It was truly awesome. Madam was a wonderful lady to get to know, I have met her before when I had visited but never had the chance to speak one on one until now. She had just gotten done with laundry for the day so the clean clothes where on the clothes line next to where we sat. Madam set up some chairs for herself, our translator, and me. She was so excited to chat and to talk about the strong life she has lived.
Madam is a 40 year old who is the mother of three children; two girls ages 14 and 11 and a boy age 5. She grew up an only child herself and to this day she still continues to take care of her parents who also live in LaFond. Her home was built by her husband and she wanted to bring color to it so she painted the stones herself to add some color.
Throughout most of Madam’s life she had the opportunity to work at a plantation near the village but unfortunately she had to receive surgery which in fact caused her to give up her work at the plantation and stay at home to care for the children and garden. She didn’t receive disability benefits like many of us can get with help from Crest SSD or other services, but instead her family had to sacrifice an income and find other ways to provide for the family. Her husband was the main source of income for them, as he oversees part of the LaFond school district.
In 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit our village and in this event Madam’s garden was destroyed leaving the family with little food and her with even less work. Like many people in the village, the hurricane did a number on their homes.
Like many families there are most when things are really hard and in those moments Madam would have to sell food from their gardens or animals to pay for something else and this would always leave the family without food. Again, this is another sacrifice the family would have to make.
A Day In Her Life
Since Madam couldn’t work anymore and instead took care of their homes everyday. She would wake up every morning to prepare the breakfast and get the kids off to school. She then would walk 30 minutes in sandals to get fresh water to do laundry and clean. 30 minutes both ways, up and downs hills, with sandals on and a bucket of water on her head. That right there is strength. Strength to hold balance, strength to endure and strength to provide.
After cleaning she would tend the garden and prepare for dinner. Dinner again isn’t something you can just pop in the microwave but instead cook over a fire. She spent her days working, providing and being within the community.
We all have dreams. Some of us follow our dreams, some don’t and some don’t have the opportunity. Madam dreams of going back to work and to own her own store where she could sell beans, rice and art
supply. I asked why art supplies but it is because she loves art and likes to be creative. Another reason why she painted her house to have it have some character.
What does being strong mean?
I asked Madam Blanc what strong meant to her and she replied “Strong means being physically strong and having pride in everything you do. It is about having a healthy strong for body and soul.”
“Strong means being physically strong and having pride in everything you do. It is about having a healthy strong for body and soul.”
Madam Blanc taught me that sometimes you have to sarcifice things in life to provide a good life to others. She is an outstanding mother, good wife and a hard worker. She is strong in her everyday to be able to continue to teach her children to be strong and respectful people and also by the way she carries herself. She doesn’t ask for anyone to be sorry for her, but instead embraces the life she was given.
Be prideful in what you bring to the table.
If you would like to learn about Reach Out LaFond visit their website to be involved or donate at reachoutlafond.org.