Venite Michaud is a madam here at OLTCH in charge of the boys' house. There are 16 boys under her and she is extremely great at caring for them. With her compassionate heart and silly personality, she brightens the lives of everyone here at OLTCH.
Today, as watched tears stream down her face and listened as she shared her life with me, I became even more passionate about allowing the women's voices to be heard through this blog.
Rosie Exavier translated Venite's words to English for you and I, and I would not have been able to post this without her help.
After we finished, Venite hugged me and tearfully told me she could never express how grateful she is for being able to talk about her life. I hope you enjoy her story as much as I do. Here is her story.
"Hello to everyone. My name is Michaud Venite. I have 28 years. I want to share my life with you, but one day is not enough for that, so I will share what I can.
I was born in Fonds-des-Negres, Haiti on June 24, 1983. I am one of 9 children in my family, but three died before I was born. Growing up, I lived in a house with my mom, dad, grandmother and 5 siblings (3 brothers and 2 sisters). One day, white people came and said they wanted to help my family. They were from Compassion International and they wanted me to be sponsored by a family in America. They paid for me to go to school and gave me the books I needed, a bible, toys, and money. They taught me about Jesus and took me to church. When I became sponsored by a family in America, they wrote me letters and sent me pictures. I met them a long time ago, but I don't know where they are now.
I don't remember much about when I was little. Now my Mom works at the hospital. She cleans the hospital and has been there for 24 years. Sometimes I can say I don't have a family, but my Mom takes care of my two daughters. Sometimes the dad of my girls gives us money, but it is not enough to take care of two kids. My mother and two sisters help me take care of the kids while I work and send the money I make to them. My first kid has ten years and her name is Woodline Charlemagne. When she was born she was sick with seizures. That gave her problems with her eyes and she cannot see good. I don't know if she is sick in her head, but she is not like other kids. Men have done bad things to her and I want to put her somewhere safe. When I think about her, I am very sad. I love her so much and I will be happy when Woodline is not sick. My other daughter is Woodjianie and she 6 years. She is a normal girl but she has fever and cough all the time. She likes to do school and she is funny. I love her so much because she is a good kid. When I cry, Woodjianie cries with me because she doesn't want me to be sad. She asks me alot of questions when I am sad. I miss them both and wish I could be with them to take care of them. It is hard to be away from them.
When I met the dad of my two girls, I knew nothing about love. My mom liked him for me and he said he loved me. I was a young girl. After I had Woodline and Woodjianie he stopped loving me and my family. He told me to go work and he doesn't want to give me money. We didn't have a house, so my mom gave me a house. For now, I need to work to help my kids and my family.
When I worked at other places I was humiliated because they were bad to me and talked about me. When I was working in Gressier, it was not enough work to provide for my girls. When I was on vacation for a few days, a doctor where I worked called me and told me he could find another place for me to work so I could make more money. Later, Madam Judith from OLTCH called him to see if he knew of a woman who could come work for the orphanage. He gave her my name and phone number. She called me and asked me if I could work for the orphanage. I told her yes, and I have been here ever since. This November makes one year that I have been at OLTCH.
I love the boys so much, but they are a lot of work because they don't obey. It makes me not want to work with them. Sometimes I want to go home, but then I would not make money. So I don't have a choice but to work here. I am looking for a job that can pay more money, but for now I am here at the orphanage. When I find a job that pays more money, I will take it. I don't want to go sit down and wait for my mom to give me money. I want to work and help my family. Because my mother is really old, it is not good for her to work. But she works now to take care of my kids. She has other children to care for with mine. My sisters and brothers have children and she helps them too.
I don't like Haiti because we work and we don't make enough money. We work and have nothing. We can't do anything we want to do here, and it is miserable living here. But every day I wake up and I work anyways because I don't have a choice. If I don't work, I don't know what I will do.
I believe in Jesus and everything can be possible with Him. I believe in Jesus and I believe He can change all of this for me, but I don't know when.
My grandmother cannot do anything now because she is too old. It makes me sad when I think about her.
If I could do one anything right now, I would go somewhere else. I would take my family with me and I would take care of all of them.
Pray for me and pray for my family. I am happy I could talk and share my story with so many people. Thank you for reading."