Idalia Bernadin – at Graduation

Idalia liked everything about the graduation, and she thinks it is an important part of the program. She explains that “it is something everyone can enjoy. As long as you march straight, you’ll graduate.”

She graduated with six goats, including two young kids, but she already used one to make an investment. Her husband was preparing their land for planting, and they needed the money to buy seeds. The goat sold for 3000 gourds, or about $48, and she was able to buy seven large cans of beans.

Her boar is starting to grow. She bought a small one when she collected the money that was owed her for the meat from a goat that died. It wasn’t much, so she had to buy the smallest, least expensive pig she could find. Now she’s eyeing the right moment to sell it and replace it with a sow that can give her offspring.

Her family’s medical issues persist, however. Unfortunately, our team was not very successful at helping her learn how she should follow up. One of her sons was diagnosed with a hernia, but he missed the follow-upappointment at the Mibalè hospital. Idalia says that he was waiting for a phone call, but the boy lives in Mibalè, near the hospital, and he knew the date.

Her youngest son’s situation is more complicated, but also not good. He has a condition that leads him to produce too many red blood cells. His blood ends up getting too little oxygen, so he’s short of breath all the time. The only treatment is regular removal of some of his blood, and we helped Idalia get him started down that road. It appeared to help. But Idalia and her husband are convinced that “they took too much blood,” so she isn’t bringing him back for further procedures. And the boy is very short of breath again.

And things are only going to get more difficult. Idalia and her husband are committed to leaving Gwo Labou, where they’ve been living since just before our team met them. They want to return to Jinpaye, but Jinpaye is even farther into the mountains, with more difficult access to care, than even Gwo Labou. Even if Idalia was inclined to get her boy the treatment he needs for his blood condition, she wouldn’t be able to find it anywhere near where she plans to go.

The family had originally fled from Jinpaye when they got into a conflict with neighbors about the rightful owner of some plantains. When we met them, they were living in a small space within a cousin’s home. The cousin himself eventually gave them the very small plot of land they built their house on.

But they feel as though they have no future in Gwo Labou. The cousin who gave them land to build on clearly wants them gone now that the program is over. Last year, he let them plant a very small garden around their house. This year, he planted his own crops to within ten feet of their front door. And with no land to farm, life is simply too expensive. Idalia’s husband has taken to traveling back and forth to Jinpaye to farm their land there, but that means he has to spend days at a time away from his family.

They don’t yet have the money they’ll need for the move. Their old house needs extensive repairs. But between their livestock and the crops they are planting in Jinpaye, they expect to be ready by the beginning of next year.