Today’s “success at home” story features 37-year-old mother, named Adeline.
After her time at Second Mile Haiti, Adeline found success in business. But business was not her only achievement.
Adeline spent a total of 6 weeks in the recovery program while her 14-month-old twins, Lude and Ludson, recovered from Severe Acute Malnutrition.
Adeline was referred to Second Mile Haiti by a health clinic near her home, two hours away. When they arrived, it was as if Adeline understood, fully and instantaneously, the purpose of the program, and its value to her. She made her children comfortable, but she did not settle in. She approached the program much like a training camp. Her mission: Attend classes, follow the nursing protocol, and watch the numbers on the scale rise.
She never forgot that her real assignment, was back home.
Despite full hands, Adeline’s physical and mental strength never wavered. It appeared that nothing could ruffle Adeline’s feathers. She was smart, quick, and fiercely dedicated. The twins improved quickly.
While their journey at Second Mile Haiti was a clear success story, this did not mean that success at home was inevitable.
Adeline was living alone with the twins and their 9-year-old brother, without electricity or running water. For waste, the family used an outdoor latrine that is shared among neighbors. The nearest water source is a 20 minute walk from her home.
In a past life, Adeline sold cosmetics to earn a living-- compact powders and scented creams, Q-tips and spray deodorants-- but she had run out of products more than a year ago. Her lack of income in the months after the twins were born contributed to their eventual decline in health and her own.
Still, she approached the second phase of the recovery program with every ounce of confidence. Adeline returned to Second Mile Haiti to collect her business package just 2.5 weeks after leaving the center. Her healthy 16-month-olds, too heavy now to travel as a pair.
Three months and three home visits later, here’s what we know about Adeline’s enterprise:
She carries more than 20 food and essential home products and keeps meticulous records. She has reinvested at least 12,850 Haitian Gourdes (~$200) to restock her items and grow her business. With her profits she has purchased diapers, sandals, and clothing for her kids and taken them to see a doctor. She currently has $142 in savings. She hasn’t missed a follow-up appointment at the Center and her babies are doing better than ever.
Of course, when she returns to Second Mile for a follow-up visit, she can’t stay for long.
Adeline has work to do. She has her family's longevity in mind.
“I’m saving to buy some animals, to grow my business to the point that it can’t ever fail" she says, when asked about her savings plan.
That certainly sounds like the Adeline we've come to know and respect.
“Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Each time we send a family home, out and away from the structure of the recovery program to the uncharted waters of post-malnutrition existence, we have to wonder: will they be okay?
Will the problems that ailed the family prior to their arrival, continue to weigh them down?
Will disputes cause disharmony? Will the kids get sick again?
Will the business fail? Will disaster strike?
Of course, we don’t say our goodbyes expecting these things to happen. We simply acknowledge the harsh realities of extreme poverty, and in doing so, we find ourselves able to celebrate the successes with a bit more gusto.
When it comes to evaluating success, it’s one’s knowledge of the nature of weeds, that makes the garden patch such a triumphant victory.
Adeline's success is a big deal. Will you join us in wishing her continued success?
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