Rosemirline is just 18. She and her toddler live with her in-laws, the boy’s father’s parents, in Wòch Pab. Her sister-in-law, Rosemitha, a sixteen-year-old who also has a child, lives in the home too. Both Rosemirline and Rosemitha are program members. The heads of the household are not.
Rosemirline’s partner is a mason, but work for masons, especially young masons, can be hard to find in the best of times in Haiti, and these have not been the best of times. So he went to the Dominican Republic to seek farm work. He has been sending money to Rosemirline and their boy, but he cannot do so regularly. “He works way out in the countryside. He can’t always find someone to bring what he wants to send.” She thinks he’ll return soon, at least for a visit, because she needs his help to build their new home. They plan to put it on a small plot next to the house she is in right now. Her new latrine is already in place there.
With an infant in her hands, Rosemirline didn’t initially see how to start a commerce, so she asked the program just to give her goats. Her case manager Titon was able to buy three for her. Unfortunately two of them died shortly after she got them.
When livestock dies shortly after transfer, the team generally tries to replace it on the assumption that it may not have been as healthy as it appeared at purchase. Asset replacement has not yet started for the HTF cohort, however, and we do not yet know exactly what Rosemirline will receive to replace her goats. She and Titon will begin discussing it when he knows how much money is available for all the replacements needed.
In the meantime, Rosemirline would like to start a small commerce. It will be difficult for her to do so because she has no one to watch her boy, Jeanlixon. He is not yet two. What’s more difficult: Rosemitha counts on her to watch her boy, Odeson, too. He too is under two years old. Rosemitha found work as a maid in downtown Laskawobas.
If Rosemirline does start a business, it will have to be out of her home. She would like to sell rice, sugar, flour, oil: groceries in general. She thinks that she’d have customers. Her home is a little out of the way, but not too far. She knows such businesses are challenging. Neighbors will try to buy on credit, and it can be hard to get them to pay. But Rosemirline thinks she can manage.
She would be ready to start right now, but she doesn’t have the money. “Recently, things have been bad.” Ever since her weekly stipend ended, she’s been short on cash. She has had trouble making the weekly deposits she is supposed to make in her savings and loan association.
She could borrow it from the association anyway. She’s saved more than enough to qualify for a small loan, but she took out a first loan of almost 10,000 gourds to help her partner go to the DR. He sent the money for the first reimbursement, but she cannot borrow again until she has repaid the entire loan.