Thursday, July 22, 2010

Solomon's Story

Meet Solomon.


Solomon works hard every day to support his family by selling ‘fresco’ (flavored shaved ice) at a busy intersection in Port au Prince, Haiti. He begins early each day pushing his wooden cart with wheels that are no longer round to pick up a block of ice and make his way to his spot. He tries to arrive at the streetside marketplace in time to catch children on their way to school and the few people that have jobs to go to with a few coins in their pocket and a sweet tooth. He is always hoping that the day will be hot enough for good sales but not so hot that the ice doesn’t make it through the rush hours. He is a kind and soft spoken man who always shares a smile with his customers.


The smile belies the weight on his shoulders and the difficult life he and his family face daily. Solomon has a wife and seven children. Three of his children had to be handed over to an orphanage to keep them alive since the money and food never made it far enough. The other four children (three sons and a daughter) are at varying levels in their education, sometimes attending, sometimes not, depending on how well the fresco business treated them that year. This was all true before January 12th, 2010. Things have only gotten harder since then.

Solomon's neighborhood sits along an open waterway full of garbage and sewage.

All of Solomon’s immediate family survived the earthquake that decimated Port au Prince. Fortunately they were all away from their home when the quake struck. Solomon was out selling fresco. His wife and daughter were out trying to sell goods in an outdoor market. His other three sons were on their way home from school. Their single-story home was made of cement blocks and consisted of two rooms covered in corrugated tin. The house cracked and crumbled in the quake, but the main damage came from the two-story building next door toppling on to and into their home. Parts of the neighboring buildings are still standing but do not appear safe, so Solomon and his family (like hundreds of thousands of other Haitian families) are living and attempting to sleep in makeshift shelters under open skies.

Solomon's 'tent'
The shelter the family has lived in since the earthquake.

When it rains, Solomon describes the efforts they make to take turns sleeping on the one mattress in the one dry spot. It has been raining a lot. They have not been sleeping much.

Solomon-showing 'house'
Solomon describing sleeping arrangements in their temporary home.

The four children still living with them are:
Simon, 20 years old – three years left to complete his secondary education.
Michline, 19 years old – works and cooks with her mother, has never gone to school.
Wilgens, 17 – trying to finish sixth grade this year.
Samson, 7 – first grade interrupted by the quake.

This family will be receiving aid through friends of ours at Makarios International to rebuild their home and restore their lives. With all the challenges facing Haiti and the Haitian people, it is truly miraculous and an incredible blessing that your generous contributions can make a difference in lives there – and that is exactly how Solomon’s family views it.

Reconstruction of their home is underway. Discussions have begun regarding enabling the children to finish their educations.

Wilgens, Solomon, Simon


Written by Troy