Josué lives in Loncy, a small community along the rocky road through Ti Fon, the area of Lascahobas that stretches between the dam-created lake near Peligre and Mòn Michel. Several years ago, he suffered a series of strokes. Because he lacked access to rehab facilities, the partial paralysis that set in went untreated. He lost most use of all four limbs, and would spend almost all his time just sitting on a bed. Before he was selected to participate in CLM’s pilot program for persons with disabilities, he had spent more than a year without leaving the dark, windowless room.
He once lived in his own small house. It was a small shack, with palm wood walls and a roof made of tach, the large fibrous pods that palm seeds appear in. But such houses require continual maintenance. Palm wood planks rot, and tach dries and cracks. His paralysis made it impossible for him to do the work, so he had to abandon his own home and move into his nephew’s. “It was my mother’s house, but my sister inherited it, and she gave it to her son.”
When the CLM team first approached him about the program, Josué was reluctant. Hébert Artus, the program’s assistant director, explains that Josué told him that our team shouldn’t waste its time with him.
But Hébert was able to convince him to give the program a chance, and Josué is glad he’s part of it. “My boys help me take care of the goats and the pig, and the 200 gourds that I get every two weeks helps. Sometimes I need it to buy salt. Sometimes, it means I can buy a candle so that I’m not completely in the dark.”
And our team has already noticed real change. Hébert explains, “I would see Josué regularly during the two-month selection process, and he was always hostile, a little bit angry to see me. But since the first six-day training, things are different. We go by his house, and find him sitting outside, rather than in his dark little room. And he shows you he’s glad to get a visit, throwing out his hand to meet yours with all the warmth his paralysis allows.”
Josué still has problems. Though the team has linked him to the Partners in Health rehab clinic, getting there will always be a struggle and his years without rehab make it hard to foresee how much mobility he’ll be able to regain. In addition, his nephew has started to hint that he’d like him to move back into his own house, and it will take time for the program to help him make the repairs his house needs to be at all habitable.
But his new attitude is the clearest sign that his hope has returned.