Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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The Stories Untold: Barrio Blanco’s Haitian Women

barrio blanco ladiesOver the last few years Barrio Blanco has received a gift. Once known as the most dangerous part of town, a place no one went into, is now transformed. Thanks to Ron Zauner and the Providing Opportunity For Self Improvement organization, many lives have changed for the better thanks to generous donations from big hearts accross the world. However, there are still some voices that need to be heard; such as the voices of the women. We are bringing you their stories in this series of 5 one-on-one interviews about the strong Haitian women building houses in Barrio Blanco - for self improvement.

 

 

This is our medium for you to get to know each one of them and what their situation is, all in the hopes that their story be told further on.

Micheline Nelson - 36 years old

micheline nelson barrio blanco ladies

Micheline has a proud look on her face. She came to the country right after the earthquake in Port Au Prince. She’s 36 years old and has lived in the DR for 7 years now. With 5 kids, 3 here and 2 in Haiti, she’s never had a stable job other than selling cheap candy on the streets. Her husband hasn’t come back in the last 2 years.

“My only desire is to have enough money to go back to Haiti with my kids and help my father.”

Her father is a man of advanced age and his health is most delicate. She wishes to go back to her family and help him. Her siblings in Haiti stay in contact with her and inform her of his situation.

“I can do anything in the construction site, even lift blocks. Anything to get to my family!”

She would leave but she’s behind on 3 months of rent and she owes around 8,000 pesos (US$175.00). Micheline wants to work an honest job so she can pay her transport back and rent delay but right now there’s no work for her. Anything to help Micheline get back on track and home with her own will change her life for the best!

 

micheline nelson barrio blanco ladies

 

 

Lelé - 42 years old

barrio blanco ladies lele

Is the kind of woman who smiles and laughs out loud most of the time, but behind her smile she hides her situation. When asked how she is feeling she shily answers “I’m ok and I’m not ok at the same time”. A series of images flash through her eyes in a mili-second and her face suddenly changes as she looks away. “I have a lot of problems” she whispers as her eyes get welled up and tears fall from her cheeks. The other women try and comfort her but she can’t hold them back anymore.
Lelé has 5 kids: 2 back home in Haiti and 3 here in Barrio Blanco. Her partner works at times but he doesn't make much at all and whatever he makes very little goes to Lelé.

Right now, she’s very late on her rent and she's aware. Lelé can't afford to fully pay for it, so she gives what she can just so she doesn't get evicted. The amount ads up to more than 20 thousand pesos (around 436 dollars). She's been working in the constructions and everything she makes goes to food for her and the family. Her offspring go from a 27 yearld old daughter to a 3 year old baby boy.

barrio blanco ladies lele

"They’re all studying but they don’t work" and therefore most of all the expenses are kept by her.

The construction helps her have money while it lasts but the building process will only last about a month and what next?

"I don't know what I’ll do." she confesses.

When asked, all the haitian women concur: Lelé is the one in most in need of all. She keeps her hopes alive and tries to keep calm by smiling, even though she doesnt have much comfort or peace in her heart and mind. She knows it’s a process that’ll make her stronger. Lelé wants her story to be known.

Eline Amasant - 42 years old

Eline has been living in the Dominican Republic for 12 years now. She gets money lent so she can cook and sell food in construction sites for other hard workers. Eline tries her best but doesn’t get much profit back at all to cover her basic necesities. She’s 42 years old and has 3 kids, only her oldest son lives with her in Barrio Blanco, the younger ones are in Haiti...

barrio blanco ladiesbarrio blanco ladies

(1. Eline, white shirt. 2, Eline, red cap)

“I have to pay 2,500 pesos (55 dollars) for my little house’s rent. I’ve been separated from my husband for 9 years now and I try to make every penny I earn count."

When we asked what was the thing she wanted more in this world, she looked tired and gave out a long sigh.

"All I ask for is to have my own house and be able to bring my other two smaller kids to live with me. Nothing would make me happier than to have my family complete.”

Eline is more than glad to receive any support with her house expenses, building materials or daily food.

"And I always eat and cook healthy food!" she adds with a sweet smile as she gently hugs her older boy Marlon.

 

Meet Kilin Milien - 43 Years old

Kilin Milien is 43 years old. She’s worked in several services such as washing clothes and cooking food to sell, nowadays she works in the construction of houses in Barrio Blanco for other members of the barrio who receive donations to fund their own decent household. Sometimes Kilin sells clothes on the street to earn an extra buck. She has 7 mouths to feed, most are hers but Kilin adopted from a deceased sister.

“The kids are in Haiti because they don’t have papers to cross the border and I’m responsable to send them money to live.”

Even though she works to make other peoples houses, Kilin doesn’t have a house of her own. She makes the cement mix, puts in blocks and whatever else she can to build her kids future with her own bare hands, considering she’s single and doesn’t have a partnet to chip in. She only wishes she could have a place she could bring them to. However, 2 of the small boys have been ill this past week and her income isn’t stable.

“I pray, a lot, everyday. The Lord knows my needs and I pray he will help me.”

Kilin Milie Barrio Blanco

Kilin says that whatever anyone can do for her situation, she will be VERY thankful. People in the barrio are considerate and give her a little bit of food everyday, she doesn’t like talking about her problems but she needs work to solve them or at least make them better.

“I’m a firm Christian and a strong believer, I won’t lose hope!”

Barrio Blanco Ladiesbarrio blanco ladies

 

Visit the foundation Providing Opportunity For Self Improvement for more information about this project. A dangerous and extremely poor village has been turned to become one of the healthiest and fastest evolving barrios on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. 

Also Read: Brain Food Needed - an article about the food program for the school children

Also Read: A Miracle In The Making 

For donations to the POSI program and more houses, schools and clinics, please write This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

For donations to the Brain Food Program, please write This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on +1 829 640 4471 between 9am and 5pm local Cabarete time. You are welcome to visit and we will show you the fabulous results the residents of Barrio Blanco have achieved. 

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