Edline Pierre is 32 years old and lives in Chauvette, a small farming village approximately two-hours outside Port-Au-Prince, Haiti with her five children – ages 13, 10, 9, 8 and 4 – and their father.
The family of seven lives in a small, two-room house made of wooden slats with a corrugated tin roof, and no running water or electricity. Edline’s partner grows crops to make a living, but working as a farmer is often not enough to make ends meet. As Edline put it, “Whenever there is no rain, it means there is no harvest, and it means we are in big trouble.” They had planted beans, but with was no rain, they couldn’t harvest them and the crops were lost.
With a failed crop and no income, Edline worries they will not be able to continue to send all of their children to school. She explains, “Now we are on summer vacation, but school is going to start in September, and we have started asking ourselves ‘how am I going to make it? How am I going to send the kids to school?’”
Growing up, Edline wanted to be a nurse, but explains, “When my father left my mother, my mother couldn’t continue to pay for school …. I dropped out when I was around 12-years-old.” Although she is illiterate, her greatest pride as a mom now is that her two oldest children can read and write. “If you send something written to me, of course I cannot read it but one of the two older kids will read it for me,” she says with a smile.
Edline often worries about her children going hungry. “I don’t know what the children ate this morning or during the day. Maybe they got something from the neighbors. I don’t know.” Their father had brought back a few breadfruit and avocados from the field earlier that day, and she was planning to try and sell them to cover some of their costs.
Although Edline and her partner wanted to have a family, when asked if she wants more children, she laughs and responds, “No, no, no, no, that’s it. We already have too many.” She explains that she didn’t know about family planning until she took her children to get vaccinated. “I didn’t know about family planning [before I got pregnant],” she notes. Now she has been using the three-month injectable contraceptive, Depo Provera, for four years. “Other people may not think [family planning] is a good thing, but let me tell you, for me, it’s good.”
Her advice to other girls and women in Haiti: “Come and try [family] planning and let me explain to you all the good it has done in my life!”
“Come and try [family] planning and let me explain to you all the good it has done in my life!”