It is always hard for me to know how much to share about the ladies I work with. What is the appropriate amount to tell the world, while respecting that it isn’t my story to tell, but also letting people into what life is like for the women here? And being extra respectful to the fact that it really isn’t cool to share the nitty gritty, hard details of friends I have grown close to, especially in a setting of a social media or blog world. In this case, I feel utterly helpless and am instead reaching out just to gather some prayers for my dear friend.
I met Wideleine about 3 years ago. She was in the very first group of jewelry making ladies with Haitian Creations. She looked so beat down, one of those people without much life behind their eyes. She looked like she had seen a lot of life and was tired. She was 22 years old and I was told by John back then that she lived in one of the worst living environments he had ever seen (and this says A LOT coming from someone who has lived in Haiti for 23 years). I remember asking her if she had any children, she said “yes, a little girl in the states and a little boy”. I remember specifically being puzzled and asking her why her little girl lived in the states. And then, like a dummy, it hit me. Her little girl was adopted and is now living in the states with her new family. I have come to know many now, but at the time Wideleine was the first mom I had ever met who had a child that had been adopted out. I knew plenty of moms who had adopted children, but had never met a mom who had given a child up. But she talked about her children proudly, both the daughter in the states and the son in Haiti. Over the next couple of years I saw Wideleine change. She became stronger, more confident, and proud of herself, the spark came back to her. And oh my goodness her spark is beautiful! She has a super bright smile and such a radiant personality. Wideleine had her first baby when she was 17, her second at 20, and her third at 23. I got to see her go through her last pregnancy and have known little Luciano since he was an infant. She is an amazing mother. She is strong and she is such a fighter. She became a totally different person than the young girl I met 3 years ago. Wideleine has became the highest producing bead maker at Haitian Creations. That lady works her butt off. Not only did she make gorgeous products, but also 4 of our ladies in the program were brought to us through Wideleine. She started teaching other women in her neighborhood how to make beads and got them jobs with us. This is an amazing thing that you don’t see often in a culture where information and jobs are held so closely in fear that they might be taken away. To give and teach and offer opportunities to other women is something that blew me away about Wideleine. She not only got jobs for two young girls, but also gave them a place to stay. Wideleine blossomed into a humble, hardworking, giving, and strong mother and friend.
Back in November when Sandy came through Haiti as a tropical storm Wideleine lost all she had. And she didn’t say a word or complaint about it. It came up because I was asking how her house (or her shack/version of a house) held up in the storm. Last month one of the girls who lives with her came in with a busted lip and Wideleine with a very hurt head. Come to find out a neighbor came and beat up on them pretty hard because of some small catty dispute that happened between one of the girls and this jerk’s girlfriend. It kills me, and I know Wideleine, that her 5 & almost 2 year old sons had to watch their mother get beaten up by a prideful man that had to prove his strength. Wideleine said not one complaint, just kept working hard.
Both of her boys have sickle cell anemia. This is a chronic, tragic disease for anyone to face, let alone someone in Haiti, where there is only one hospital around that can even offer some sort of treatment. Wideleine works her butt off trying to earn money to provide for herself and her boys and getting them the medical attention they constantly need. About 6 months ago her youngest, Luciano, was brought in and it appeared something was wrong with the right side of his body. Well he has become much, much more ill and it now appears the whole right side of his body is paralyzed. She has been at the hospital with him every day and night for 20 days straight now. Josh and I have been going and bringing her small things, some food, a little money, whatever small thing she may request. We were just with her tonight and this mom is seriously worn out. Last week when we visited she had not seen her other son for 2 weeks straight and she had to rely on the other girls to take complete care of him. He now has become sick with some sort of infection, as well. Tomorrow is Wideleine’s 25th birthday. On her birthday she will again be fighting for the health of her boys she loves so dearly, and on very little sleep. This girl has experienced way too much in her 25 years.
Sometimes people ask me stories about the ladies I work with. They want to hear about positive change and stories of transformation. Many times I will tell them a very, very brief bit about my friend Wideleine, the beautiful change that has happened in her life. I always leave out the anger I feel towards her situation. That she does absolutely everything she can, everything she knows to do and is able to do, and is left at the end of the day praying her youngest will survive. I guess now I just feel at a loss and am asking for some prayers out there, for mercy and for healing, and for heaps of blessings for this mom. For her load to be lightened and for the road to become easier for her. For her kids to grow up healthy and respect and admire how hard their mom works and how much she loves them. For the thought to never cross her mind in thinking that this is somehow her fault or that she is inadequate, that maybe her boys would be healthier had they been adopted. I think there is an amazing family out there and that her daughter is right where she needs to be, but I fear so much that Wideleine will think maybe that situation would have been best for her boys, too. But that might just be my own anger and need to see justice that creates that fear.
So friends, I guess this is just my request that when you may go to pray, please add her and her little boys to your list. And please pray that year 25 will be a good year for her. My goodness I think they deserve it.
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