Her combat is my inspiration
Letter to Friends around the World # 107

I am an ecological activist with GAFE. I am also an agricultural technician, and a student in Legal Sciences. I am currently the General Secretary of an association for disabled peopled called MCPHPSH: Mouvement citoyen des personnes handicapées physiques du Sud d’Haïti (Citizen’s Movement for Physcially Disabled People in the South of Haiti).

I am promoting the Haitian novel, Ravine L’Espérance (The Ravine of Hope). Written to pay homage to the courage of people whose life is not easy. This novel has been extremely successful in the symposiums organized for it. While travelling to promote Ravine L’Espérance I found myself faced with another terrible reality – poverty. And I must admit that one must be very brave not to feel hopeless.

There is a type of psychological poverty that disadvantaged people suffer from. There is a deep negativity felt by the Haitian people.

There are things that remain unsaid. Realities that we try to erase. Poverty is truly a complex problem. Our intellectuals are absent in Haiti, our elites are absent, our leaders are absent. This means we must fight poverty through public awareness of it, with no foregone conclusions. See what we can do so that everyone can believe in themselves. It is a lack of self-confidence that makes it so that people are not able to eradicate poverty. We are in this together.

To conclude, please allow me to share an experience that means a lot to me. There are several disabled women in our association, but I’d like to tell you about one of the most vulnerable. Her name is Sima Marielle and her disability was due to a high fever when she was a child in her family of eleven children. Despite her physical impairment and intellectual deficiency, her family counts on her to survive. Last year she sacrificed many things to go to an agriculture school, where she earned her first diploma. This course lasted several months and now she is struggling to cultivate the tiny parcel of land where the house is located to nourish the other eleven members of her family. She always tells me, “Chrismaine, I have to keep on working to to feed my little brothers and sisters.”

This young lady is a source of inspiration for me.

Chrismaine Sévère, Mouvement citoyen des personnes handicapées physiques du Sud d’Haïti, Haiti