Haitian Women Helping Women

January 15, 2015

Meet Soinie. To say Soinie is an inspiration is an understatement! This determined lady is breaking the mold in order to build a better life for her family and the community of Fondwa. Soinie (pronounced swah-nee) has joined our construction crew to build FHM’s Carmelle Voltaire Women’s Health Center. That’s right, she’s helping with construction! She has worked with Michael Anello, the Building Goodness Foundation Haiti Project Manager for our new health center, on a few of his projects… as a cook. Each day the crew takes a break for lunch and are served a delicious hot meal. As Soinie watched the men put up building after building, she began dreaming about an opportunity for her to join the crew. The construction job pays more than what she was making as a cook and with five children to care for, she knew this could be a chance for her to help them even more. She approached Michael with her idea and he agreed!

     soinie5

Living about ten minutes down the road from the job site, Soinie knows the area well. While she looks out over the mountains and acknowledges the beautiful home she has, she also knows the struggles that Haitian families face living so far from a big town. There are no hospitals and only small remote clinics dotted throughout the trails. And even those are few and far between with limited hours and services. FHM’s birthing center and women’s health clinic will be an incredible opportunity for the women of Fondwa and neighboring villages to receive pre- and postnatal treatment, and of course help during delivery.

“I have five children,” Soinie tells me. “I had all of them at my house. Only their father was there to help me. Thanks to God, all of them were healthy deliveries. Had there been a problem I would have had to try to go to the hospital in Leogane.”

 

The hospital in Leogane is about 15 miles down the mountain from Fondwa. You would have to flag down at least two public transportation vehicles to get there. If you didn’t live near the main road, you’d have to walk or ride a donkey 15 minutes or two hours (or more!) depending on where you lived to even get to that point. And for a woman who is in the middle of a complicated delivery, her chances of reaching the hospital in time are slim. “This is a good project for this community,” she continues. “There is no hospital here. The women need a place to go for medical care.”

When asked how the men received her on the job site she said they have no problem with it. I asked Ozee, one of the guys, for his thoughts and he said they’re all happy to have her on the crew. “Li janm!” he said, meaning she’s fit and very capable of doing her job. The women who’ve seen her working on the project call her a “fanm vanyan” which literally translates as a valiant woman. It has the same meaning in English… a woman who is admirable, strong, courageous. A few of them have even said that they would love to join her on the crew!

soinie3

We couldn’t be more thrilled to see the birthing center project underway. And having Soinie on the crew is an added bonus! “Women helping women!” Ozee says as he watches Soinie pass by with her buckets. “It’s good. Very good.” We couldn’t agree more! This community is rallying together for the sake of their community. Exciting things are happening in Fondwa! It’s good. Very good!

FHM News

Representatives of the UNC School of Nursing, Rhonda Lanning and Leslie Hackenbracht traveled to Haiti last week with Family Health Ministries. They were in country for the opening of the new Carmelle Voltaire Women’s Health Center. The Center saw more than 50 patients during their first 3 days of operation. It was wonderfulRead More

The Global Health PLUS (Placement of Life Changing Usable Surplus) Program, in association with Duke Global Health Institute, allowed Family Health Ministries to glean hospital equipment from inventory to use for the Carmelle Voltaire Women’s Health Center in Haiti. The mission of Duke Global Health PLUS is to make this surplus medical equipmentRead More

Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity. We have a day for giving thanks. We have a day for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, communityRead More

PIZZA WITH A PURPOSE! Join us Sunday, August 16th anytime during the day to dine out for Haiti at California Pizza Kitchen at The Streets at Southpoint, 6910 Fayetteville Road #154, Durham, NC 27713. 20% of your check will be donated to Family Health Ministries including dine in, take out,Read More