On the morning that 50 souls died in Orlando another man went into eternity in a hospital in rural Haiti. His second wife, Rosena, works for Heartline at the maternity center. She lives a quiet life under the radar, ever worried that she might do something to lose her job. She lives week to week and month to month and needs her salary to survive. She cares for her husband’s children, her own children and some extended relatives.
Her first husband was a police officer and he died when the police station collapsed to the ground in the earthquake. His body wasn’t located for a month. She later married a man who had also lost his first spouse. Together they made a family. Then he got sick. He went from being a large man to a skeleton, he went from eating a lot to eating nothing. He couldn’t keep anything down. He checked into General Hospital but they went on strike -the hospital closed down. He went to the new hospital run by Partners in Health. He didn’t like their diagnosis so he moved on. He tried voodoo. He tried another hospital. Then, on Sunday, he died.
Rosena is from a country family and they sent her to school a year or two when they could, but she says she couldn’t learn well and did not stick with it. Unfortunately Rosena never learned to read or write. The microwave is a mystery to her and because she was not afforded everything all of us reading this have had, she cannot tell the difference between 3 minutes and 3 hours when she heats up food for a postpartum Momma. Oh the simple chores that are denied a person who never had a chance for an education. Most illiterate folks I know have incredible memories committing lists in their heads because a pencil or a phone would do them no good.
School is an incredible gift – a gift Rosena missed out on.
Life is so unfair.
While we were celebrating Troy’s birthday Rosena started her mourning. She just got the news that her husband had died. Through tears she asked Tara and I for rent money. Confused, Tara asked why she needed rent money rather than funeral money. The needs are one in the same. She can pay rent or put the money towards a funeral which culturally is more important. She cannot do both. Do you pay for the living or the dead? Here in Haiti the dead usually win hands down. You get first priority and dibs at the cash once you die.
This dear, soft spoken, timid lady lives on the edge. If she falls off, lots of people fall with her. She quietly does the post-birth laundry, the dishes for all the ladies in the program, mops the floor and goes home to take care of children. Life has never been easy for Rosena.
Rosena cares for a lot of people who depend on her.
She is a key person at our maternity center and we appreciate her. I think she’s too timid to believe us – or maybe it feels too risky to believe that we really truly care about her – it could just be another thing in her life she might lose.
Heartline employs lots of people like Rosena. Precious people trying to keep a job and keep their family afloat, keep the kids fed. If kids can go to school it’s like hitting the lottery. They know education is invaluable.
Now Rosena has to do it alone so the kids who live in her house can have what she never got. A book, a pencil and a classroom to sit in.
When you support Heartline Ministries and choose to send a donation each month, you support a lot of folks like Rosena.
Please “Join the Family” by supporting us at $25 per month and help us continue to employ wonderful women like Rosena.