Three years ago I met Evelyn through some unexpected events. One day, while walking in the market, her daughter had hobbled up to my friend and was showing us that she had a large gash on the bottom of her foot. We rushed her back to the house to disinfect the wound and bandage it. That evening as the sun was setting, we walked the young girl back to her house and we were greeted by her mother, Evelyn, who rushed up to us in tears. In her arms she was holding a baby wrapped in cloths. As she unraveled the clothes we saw a malnurtured baby fighting for its life. In the heat of the moment, wrapped up in emotion and stress we went back to the house to talk to my friend’s mom about how we could help. The following day, we were able to bring a container of powdered milk for Evelyn to mix with water and feed to her baby in hopes of it helping her start to nurse her baby back to life.
The next year on one of our week trips, my friend and I were walking in the market again when a lady ran up to us. In her arms was a baby wrapped in cloths, but this baby was chubby and healthy, and the mother was Evelyn. “You saved my babies life.”
Evelyn was born in Ti Palmiste inside of the house she lives in now. She grew up, took care of her sick mother and is now raising her family there. Her dad was never around, but she heard that he passed away right around the same time her mom did as well. Evelyn went through a tough grieving period after her mother died because her mom was her biggest helper and supporter in her life. “She would always find food for us, and she would make sure we were fed before she ate anything”. Evelyn is the oldest of 4 kids and each of her siblings have different fathers.
Evelyn told me that her favorite memory was having her children because it makes her feel less alone. She does locals’ laundry for a living. When she doesn’t work, her kids cry and pull on her arms and legs because they are so hungry, but she does not have anything to give them. “When that happens, it makes me even more devoted to my work”.
“One of the most exciting days my kids and I had was when I needed to take the girls to the doctors. I saved up my money and bought us a moto ride with one of the local men to travel to the next town over.” Evelyn never mentioned what it was they needed to go to the doctors for, but she did say it was nice to get out of the house for a day.
“It is much harder for women to find jobs, especially in Ti Palmiste. Women pass more misery than men do because we have to sit, take care of the kids and clean. Luckily, I love my children but it still makes me wonder about other possibilities for my life. My favorite time of day is when the sun starts to set and I watch my children playing and laughing together.”
“I dream of finding work that is substantial for my family. I dream of having provisions. I dream that my kids are able to grow up in a beautiful place.”