Rosemitha Petit Blanc 5

Rosemitha says, “Bagay yo bon. Mwen santi, mwen se yon lòt moun.” “Things are good. I feel as though I’m a different person.”

When I last spoke to her, she was struggling with her new business. She had bought tomatoes and onions in Kolonbyè and sold them farther up the road in downtown Savanèt. It didn’t go well. She had made her first trip, and the price she could get for her tomatoes was too low. She ended up returning home with less money than she started with. She was discouraged. She planned to make one more attempt with tomatoes and onions, but was resolved to switch products if it didn’t work.

And she ended up switching after one more trip. She decided to invest in kerosene and cooking oil instead. She buys cooking oil because she needs it at home and can make a little money with it while always ensuring she has enough to cook with. But her main business is kerosene. By moving it from Kolonbyè to Savanèt, and separating it into small portions, she can make about 100% profit on her investment of 500 gourds, or about $8.30. She makes the trip once a week, and her commerce is now what her family mainly lives on.

Her husband is busy working in their rice field. He’s able for the first time to invest all his time. In the past, he would have to take time off from his own farming for day labor. Unless he brought in something every day, the family wouldn’t eat. Now he can just focus on their harvest. It looks good, and when it comes in, they will be able to eat even better. All this means that Rosemitha feels great about herself because she knows that she’s contributing. “He contributes, and I contribute, too.”