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Haitian Women: A Single Mom's Story


By Wadner Pierre

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Pierre was born in a country where women are the engines of the national economy. Haitian women are those who raised their children as mother and father. They are the first to wake in the morning and the last to return home. I was raised by a single mother, Andrena Pierre.

She had me when she was 16-years-old. My father had already married another woman. My father was not there for me. But Andrena was always there to provide the most necessities she could. My mother was always made sure that, I showered on time. She wasn't lucky as I am to get a good education. She could only help with my homework when I was in the first grade that was her educational level. However, Andrena, like other single Haitian moms made sure that I went to the best private school in my locality. She made sure that my tuition and my after school activities were paid on time. To do all this for me, she had to wake up early to go on the farms to buy crops from the farmers. She sold crops at the local markets, sometimes she left for two or three days to the capital to sell vegetables and rice. That is the journey most Haitian mothers are on.

 Sometimes I asked to accompany her to the farms. "Your duty is to go to school, but you can come with me" she said. I wanted to go with her to be a part of the experience.  She did not want me to go sometimes and insisted that I stayed home to study.  She always reminded me, "I didn't have a chance to go far in school, but I will make sure that you become a great man... and you will be able to help me and others. All have is in you." My mother is a hopeful woman. She smiles all the time. She has faith in what she is doing.  "As long as you can get a good education, I will live a better life in the future. Please don't worry about my situation, worry about what you have to do to get out of it," she said to me. Today is my day to pay respect to her and to all proud Haitian mothers.

My mother’s story is one amongst thousands from Haitian single mothers. I had a chance to live with her until I turned 14-year-old. My journey is her journey, her teachings, her thoughts. I learned all I could to make my way from her and through her strength.

Haitian women are my pride. I love them and I will fight for them with my camera and my writing skills. Being a photojournalist today is a great privilege for me to tell their stories to the world. To say how beautiful, wonderful, and lovely Haitian mothers are. Whether they are rich or poor, I am proud to call them all my mothers.

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© Wadner Pierre, Nov. 9, 2010