501(c)3 Non-Profit | Empowering Haitian Families

Some thoughts..

Four figures lay in the shadows as I cracked the door to the basket weavers house in the backyard open. A petite young mother, her younger sister, and two baby girls lay in the darkness. She had been beaten and had fled to the artisan center to hide where she had made a bed for the babies on the concrete and then called me to tell me where she was. I quickly came down to the artisan center and found them all there, lying on nothing but a spread out sheet that they had brought with them from their home- babies sound asleep. The young mother’s shoulder was swollen up where she had been beaten with a stick. Apparently her “marie”, her boyfriend/husband, has another lady who is also pregnant. This will be his sixth child with three different woman and he is only 24 years old.

The thing is, he is not a bad guy. He is a guy who is struggling to make ends meet, fighting over where to spend the money, and unfortunately not fighting some of the cultural norms for men here. It is not uncommon to have several women, it is not uncommon to have many kids with several “wives”, and it is not uncommon to have domestic violence be the norm.

I can’t say how many times women have come running to the artisan house with their heads bleeding, or lumps on their backs because they hadn’t come home promptly from a shopping trip, or had found their man with someone else.

It is something I just don’t really know how to deal with. How do you change a culture? How do you teach someone something at 30 that we would have learned at age 4.. don’t bite, don’t hit girls, don’t steal, don’t lie….and how do I stand here knowing that I would probably full well do the same thing if I had the same enormous pressures on me for survival? How do I not judge, but also not be ok with it? How do I make this better?

These are the things that I think about in the pauses between the amazing things that we get to experience here. It is just one of the many hard things that I was never exposed to in the states to this degree. It makes me sit in silence and think. And everyonce in a while I pick up the computer and want to share these moments with you….

  1. Thank you for sharing them. We need to be reminded of what is reality for so many, so that we can struggle with these things too. Thank you for being there, for loving and sharing your life with them. I love you friend!

  2. Shelley, I think about these same issues all of the time. But you hit the nail on the head when you said you learn most of these things at age 4. So if the people of Haiti want these things to change they have to start with the generation still young enough to instill these good traits in. We know Haiti's women want the change …. the question is do the men? Are they willing to take a stand?

  3. I grew up in this atmosphere, where there is little to no fidelity, where beatings for kids and wives are normal, where you may not know who the father is, and he may have several kids with several women. Where a 12 year old can have sex with no one raising an eyebrow, and at 13 can be on crack, with family paying for it.

    The way I learned what is right, was by falling in with some wonderful friends(Thank you LORD!) who lived in a different type of world, who loved me no matter where I came from or what I had been doing(or was still doing to some extent). They stood by, and I suspect prayed for me. They invited me into their homes, where christian values were practiced and LOVE was abundant. They were the hands and feet, and I was blessed to have them.

    Continue doing what you are doing. 🙂

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