Women and girls of Haiti

The most tired I’ve ever been was in Haiti. Not just one time. Many times. Usually it’s at the end of a week out in the countryside. Sometimes that’s with a group from the U.S., or it can be on a work trip with colleagues.
Unrelenting heat. Humidity like a white hot fog. Long days on rough roads. Leaning in to comprehend Haitian spoken so quickly, usually with gestures I might not understand.
Struggling even more to stay on topic and respond appropriately.
So tired.
Often when I return to my comfortable home in Delmas, it takes me a day to recover. Yes, my privilege extends to my surroundings in Haiti, too.
Having been out of Haiti for so long — when I named this blog Long Way Home, I had idea just how circuitous the route would be –– I understand so much better than my exhaustion was a fraction of the way the people of Haiti live every single day of their lives.
Especially the women of Haiti.
They are called Poto Mitan. Pillars of society.
Women hold together families. They work day and night to make money and make it stretch. They sacrifice. They care for their spouses, children, parents, grandparents, siblings, grandchildren. From the time they are tiny, they are learning how to keep house. They know how to make a business, if they’ve gone far in school or never spent a day in a classroom.
The more advantaged they are, the harder it seems they work.
They aren’t tired.
They are exhausted.
And it should be this way. Haiti has struggled as a nation since it was born the first free Black republic. BECAUSE it was the first free Black republic!
Punished, ignored and fined for its people’s glorious rise from enslavement, Haiti has been a place where people struggle.
And where people struggle, girls and women struggle more.
As Haiti’s people endure yet another brutal chapter of misery and uncertainty, remember the women. They are far more tired than they have to be.
Keep them all in your prayers. If you know them, encourage them.
If you love them, love them harder.

Author: Cindy Corell

My journey began some time ago, through growing up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, through a 28-year-career as a newspaper reporter and editor and through my faith experiences. Now my journey takes me to Haiti where I work as a companionship facilitator with Joining Hands, a program through Presbyterian Church (USA). I work with Haitian farmer groups who strive to empower, strengthen and accompany farmers on their way to feeding their nation again. I am blessed beyond measure with a wonderfully supportive family, a host of close friends and an opportunity to work in Haiti.

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