Modeline’s baby has been sick with diarrhea, but she’s been taking good care of her. She received oral rehydration fluid from the Haitian government’s child vaccination agent at his last visit, and she’s been making sure the baby drinks it. She was also pleased to learn that she can use coconut water, because there are plenty of coconuts where she lives.
Her livestock is increasing. She’s up to four goats from the two we gave her, and three of the four are pregnant. She worries some about her sow, though. It hasn’t gotten pregnant yet. She should probably sell it and buy another, but she can’t bring herself to do so. “It’s so tame! Even if it gets untied, it just strolls over and waits in the shade in front of my house.” She’s too happy with how easy the pig she got is to manage. This is something her case manager, Simon, will have to discuss with her, because if her sow doesn’t reproduce, there isn’t much use to having it.
Her house is almost finished, but a few final touches remain. Her husband has already prepared the palm planks they need to complete its last wall, and the hard lumber for its doors is ready too.
She says that her husband has been working really hard to get the work done. “L ap pase anpil mizè.” That means, “he’s suffering a lot,” and it’s indicative of the central change in Modeline’s life since she joined CLM. He used to spend most of his time working in the Dominican Republic. He was good about supporting her, but he wouldn’t stay around much because he couldn’t see how he could make a living at home.
But now he’s committed to staying at home with her, because the resources that CLM has made available to her enables him to work where they live. And both of them are much happier living this way. His mother was always willing to make land available for him to farm, but he never had the resources to take advantage of it. He now not only farms land she assigned to him, but he farms her land as a sharecropper, too. And they have a plan for further progress. One of the crops he planted is malanga, a starchy root. He and Modeline plan to use the proceeds from that crop to rent additional farmland. In the meantime, it’s avocado season, and the cash she’s been able to save allows him to buy avocadoes off their neighbors’ trees so he can lug them down for sale at the side of the road to passing produce trucks.
His increased presence had another consequence: their second child. But they are committed to family planning now. They have two children now, and two is enough. “If you’re always having children, you’re bound to move backwards.” She says she’s talked about this her husband, and he’s in full agreement. “He had to agree.”
The one area of her life that has seen little progress so far is small, but important. After more than a year in the program, Modeline still can’t sign her name. She appears to have some dyslexia, and if she is to get past it in the coming months, she and her case manager will have to work hard.
Below is her attempt to copy her name from my example: