by Myrtha Dor Star of Hope Haiti
Louise Rose-Marie Jasmin doesn't have a life story but rather a courageous and splendid life share. "Rose-Marie"is 48 years old and a mother of five. She lives in the local area known as Dano, Haiti. All of her children attended the Star of Hope School in Dano. The 3 youngest are still in school and this is her full responsibility. Since the earthquake of January in 2010, she has lived as a single mother.
Rose-Marie is the backbone of her family since her husband became too sick to work. this is a good thing. Back in 2008 she started with about $250 (Haitian). The money saved by her and her husband; she was able in less than 4 months to triple this amount. She decided to let her husband stay home to watch over the kids. Rose-Marie's mother also helped out as Rose-Marie was becoming a business woman.
During harvesting periods, she traveled the countryside buying goods for resale in the cities. She returns home only once every three months to bring her financial support to the family for food, school, clothes and pocket money. Soon after her visits she would be off again. For Rose-Marie, it was no sacrifice as she was finally able to financially meet the needs of her family.
Rose Marie, 48
During the earthquake, Rose-Marie's husband, Michel, suffered internal injuries and Rose-Marie had to come back home to assist him. During this time the medical fees, medicines and transportation to the hospital from Dano to the city had consumed all money she made from her business. And couple of weeks later Michel had a stroke and he couldn't move at all. At this point he was wheelchair bound.
It was a few months after the earthquake that the reconstruction began on the nearly destroyed Dano School. Rose-Marie walked in and asked for job at the construction site and was granted work. She was not appointed a specific job on site. She was willing to do anything needed; carrying rocks, moving buckets of rubber tar, carrying gravel or water. She made it clear from the beginning, "I'm very strong and I can do anything".
I am "strong"
While still taking care of her husband and supporting her family from her wages, Rose-Marie had also started to save for her new plan. From those savings she rented a room in the city next to the hospital to move her husband. Her only daughter was there to watch over him. His health condition required frequent visits to the hospital. Meanwhile, Rose-Marie kept on working on the construction site and saved enough to pay the school fees that remained on her account for her 3 children. She bought their school books, school materials, uniforms, shoes etc. for the school year of 2011-2012 from the pay received while rebuilding the very school they were attending.
She was living with the wish to make more savings and go back to her usual "buy and sell" business as she understood the current job was for a limited time.
But things don't come always as planned. Because of the increased requests from the population to work on the construction site it was decided to rotate the job seekers living in the community in order to bring some financial support to their families. Too many people needed work and Rose-Marie had no guarantee of when she would be able to go back working on the construction sites, but what could she do?
During the rotation time, Rose-Marie decided to have a mobile candy business and a fried food business, starting first at home but later she wanted a mobile business that she could move anywhere in the community or to different events. With a paralyzed husband, her children and mother to support, this business was failing but the needs of the family continued. By May 2012, there was no more business, but what can she do again?
Coincidentally in the last two years her youngest children; Sony 15 and Vladimir 12 who were still going to Star of Hope's Dano school, had both won a goat lottery ticket through the "Pay it Forward" Goat Project. These goats had given birth to baby goats that went to other children waiting in the "Pay it Forward" program. Later, her children's Goats had yet more baby goats and those goats were able to be used as cash. Rose-Marie took the 2 baby goats, one goat from each child, sold them and restarted the candy and fry business.
But bad bad circumstances are still crossing Rose-Marie's road. She was in financial difficulty for this academic year of 2012-2013 to come up with the school fee that is required from all parents. From her sense of business, she got everything ready to send her 3 children to school starting the 2nd week of school as is normal for returning students. However, her mother passed away on October 7, just a day before the school dues were needed. No more business, school fees as well as the last cash on hand and all savings is now taken for her mother's funeral.
Rose-Marie's economic situation meant she could not afford to send her to a funeral home and she was forced to bury her the next morning. Unfortunately during the wake in early evening a group of young guys fighting threw a rock which hit Rose-Marie in her face and she collapsed. Driven to the hospital in the middle of the night, Rose-Marie had some stitches and came back the next afternoon after her mom was already buried.
When informed of her situation, Star of Hope Haiti covered her children's school fees for all 3 children who will come back to school next Monday, after mourning their grandmother.
The rock they threw, knocked me out!
A week following the funeral, Rose-Marie has still this regret for not saying a formal good bye to her mom by putting the coffin herself into the ground. But she said: "What is happening to her life is just some pages written of my courageous life. The splendid life and rejoice will come and knock back to her door because God can't create a courageous and strong woman like her to vanish by meeting only bad circumstances."
Rose-Marie is a complete package and example of the vivid life of a Haitian woman who's fighting all obstacles to meet her family's need. Now living on hope, she thinks with the push and financial support from any Good Samaritan she will be able to get back on her feed.
Star of Hope, Haiti