Working in Haiti, I’m often praised for doing good work, or told how thankful Haitian people must be for the program I work with. The longer I work here and get to know Haitian people, though, I find myself profoundly humbled by their everyday heroism. I am inspired by them, and the tremendous courage it takes to live each day here, doing your best.
One of our translators, Sheily (pictured above), is a single mom who learned great English while living in the US as a kid. When her parents died, she was deported back to Haiti– may never have been legal, it seems. She works hard to support her children: a boy who is 8, a daughter who is 4, and now, an unexpected new daughter. Sheily found this baby girl in the garbage lot, outside her apartment in Port au Prince last fall. She tells it very matter-of-factly, that one night she went out to empty her trash, and heard a baby crying in the dark. Knowing the sound of a newborn cry quite well (she sees babies born every work day with us in maternity), she located this little baby in the debris and took her home.
The infant was only hours old, and still attached to the placenta. She cleaned her up, cut her cord, dressed her, got her some formula, and adopted her. The baby is now 7 months old and walking! She will eventually go to a good school, just like her siblings.
Most Sunday nights, Sheily rides a tap-tap, (an open bus or truck with people sitting on benches) from Port-au-Prince to Hinche, a 2.5 hour ride, to do this job translating Creole/English for volunteers who are teaching at the hospital. During the work week, she stays in Hinche with a friend, and others look after her kids, so she can earn a living. She arrives on time, pays attention, and helps Midwives for Haiti in any way she can, all day long. On Friday evening she takes the tap-tap home.
For Haitian economics, this is a pretty decent gig; it enables her kids to have food, clothes, and go to school. Quite often she also goes back with cute clothes and shoes for her kids, formula for the baby, and some extra money…we love Sheily and try to help her. She’s one of my heroes.
-From the blog of Wendy Dotson, longtime volunteer and friend of Midwives For Haiti