Monise’s livestock is flourishing. Her two goats are now five goats. One had a single kid, and the other had a pair. And the first is pregnant again. She smiles when I tell her to tell the goat she wants more than one kid this time. She says that she’ll tell it to have two or even three.
Her pig is growing. She chose to raise a boar rather than a sow. “My mother farms so much that I was afraid of having the piglets around.” The pig has grown considerably, and she thinks it’s now time to focus on fattening it. She hopes to sell it in December.
The best way to fatten it up is to supplement the food she can forage by purchasing pig feed. And she has a plan for this. She planted eight coffee-cans of beans this spring, and they are ready to harvest. She can’t yet tell with certainty how good her yield will be, but her mother’s already harvesting and the older woman’s yield hasn’t been bad. Monise should get 40 to 80 cans, which will be more than enough to buy pig feed and make other investments as well.
She has continued to make progress on her home. She needs to buy one more palm tree to get the planks she’ll need to enclose its second room. She had been counting for a long time on her baby’s father to help her, but he remains in the Dominican Republic, and she now says definitively, “We’ll not together anymore.” She has realized that she cannot count on him, and she seems resigned to the fact. As young as she is and with four children to support already, it’s probably for the best if she has come to realize that she needs to and can count on herself.
And she isn’t really on her own. Until CLM, she lived in her mother’s house, and she is building her own house in a corner of the older woman’s yard. And her mother seems willing to help in every way. She announced that she would buy the palm tree that Monise needs, and when she heard about a man from the neighborhood who was complaining that he couldn’t carry a set of planks up the mountain to complete his house, she scoffed, saying she’d be happy to buy the planks – they’re hard to come by in Fon Desanm – and she’d carry them up the hill. No small feat for a healthy young man, not to mention for a grandmother. Monise’s mother seems proud of her ability to work hard and committed to doing what she can for her daughter and grandchildren.