Madan Canot

The following is taken from an interview a did while selecting new members of CLM in Tomonn. There are about 40 Haitian gourds to the Dollar.

“My name is Madan Canot I must be 50 or 55 years old. Canot and I live with our youngest daughter in a two-room house that overlooks Bay Tourib, in the mountains above Tomonn.

“I had nine children, four with my first husband and five with Canot, but only four are left. The others all died.

“The hardest to lose was my oldest boy. Canot has been unable to work almost since I met him, over twenty years ago. But my boy always did his best for me. When he saw that his stepfather and I were stuck living in a cornstalk lean-to, he saved his money and bought me a little house. He even began paying to send his little sister to school. Then he told me he was moving to Pòtoprens to find work so that he could really support me. I never heard from him after that. Next thing I knew, someone told me that he was dead. I sold my last farmland to pay for his funeral.

“Without him, and with a husband who can’t work, things are really hard. I go out in the mornings and work in other people’s fields. I can earn 25 or 35 gourds for a half-day’s work. That’s what we live on. Or that and what we can make out of gifts our neighbors give us. Sometimes someone gives us some money or a cup or two of food. Last month, the local peasant association gave me beans to plant in the little plot behind my house. If the harvest is good, I’ll be able to sell some.

“We get by with what we have, but I’m sorry for my girl. She’ll finish primary school this year, but there’s no way I can send her any farther.”