She wakes up early in the morning and she looks over at her beautiful children. They are sleeping side by side, some on her bed and some on the floor. She does not have a husband or a man to work and so it is up to her to do it all. She quickly moves past her sleeping children and grabs the five gallon buckets sitting by the door. They are empty. She quickly puts on her tattered sandals and heads out the door to find water in the nearby community. As she walks down the dusty street, there is a brisk wind that blows the dust around. The sun is slowly coming up on the horizon and lighting up the tin roof houses that are everywhere. She begins to think herself, "what would it be like to be rich?" But she does not feel sorry for herself because she is not a victim. She is a mother. A fighter. A survivor. As she comes upon the community well, she waits in line to pump her water. She watches as bucket after bucket is filled with clean water and it soon becomes her turn. She takes a moment to wash her dusty feet and her face with the cool water that refreshes her face. She then works fast to fill her two buckets. She fixes her wrap on top of her head and she lifts the bucket to the top. Then she takes the other one and she begins to walk back to her humble home.
On her walk home, she begins to greet her neighbors as they begin to hustle about. "Bonjour vwazine. Kijan ou ye?" When she arrives home, she finds her oldest daughter, who is 12 years old, comforting the baby. She rocks her back and forth and sings a little tune. In Kreyol she says, "Alicia, It is time to shower so you can go to school. Wake your brothers and sisters please." Alicia puts the baby down and begins to strip down her clothes. She takes a bucket outside and begins to pour the cold water over her body, cup by cup. She knows she has to ration the water so that her other siblings can shower too. As the sun quickly rises, the little one room house begins to heat up. The five children rush around to finish showers and put on their school uniforms. Mama sets the baby in the corner with a small piece of bread and she begins to reheat the larger pot left over from the night before. Ants go scurrying as the charcoal fire heats the pot hotter and hotter. She dishes up five plates of food and sets aside a portion for the baby. She says a quick thanks to the Lord for providing a meal for that morning, but deep in her heart she is anxious for where the next meal will come from. She knows that she must get the children out the door so that she can attempt to sell the 10 pairs of shoes that she bought to re-sell. Today she may try her luck going in to a neighboring village to see if anyone there would buy even just one pair. If she is lucky, she will sell several pairs today and be able to buy diri a pwa in the market. She is thankful for the chance to work even if it means walking in the sun for the whole day. She kisses her children goodbye as they file out the door. They have at least a mile to walk and yet by their smiles you would never know it. They go skipping out the door and on to their day. Mama sits and takes a deep breath. She feeds the baby and then she bucket showers him. Then she uses the left over water (which is already almost gone) to shower herself and then takes a moment to eat the small left overs she had set aside for herself.
She walks the baby over to the neighboring hut and kisses him goodbye. She kisses her elderly neighbor and thanks her for taking care of him. She grabs her metal cavette filled with used shoes and heads to the neighboring community. She may not feel well today but the fierce love for her children will push her to continue to fight. She will survive because after all...she is Haitian.
In honor of International Women's Day and all the valiant women in every country, who works tirelessly to raise their families.