This is the story of Faimée, a five-year-old little girl who attends the FH Haiti Child Friendly Space (CFS) in the Siloe neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. She lost her leg during the January 12 earthquake. The following is what she told me when I visited her and her family one Monday afternoon in Siloe.
“Before the earthquake, I helped my mother with chores at home. I could wash the dishes, go to the street market to buy things for her, and also prepare meals. I could walk to get water for the house when my mother needed it.”
Born June 4, 2005, Faimée is an only child. She lives with her parents and her young uncle Tiga, whom she deeply loves. She was at preschool before the earthquake. January 12 she was at home watching television when the earth began to shake.
“I yelled a lot and then everything went black. I couldn’t hear anything.”
Faimée spent two days under the rubble of her house before her mother and neighbors could pull her out. She was in a coma for several days and when she woke up one of her legs was missing. “When I asked my mama about my leg, she began to cry.” Her mother cried and couldn’t find the words to explain to her five-year-old daughter why her leg had to be amputated.
Her family lost their home and everything they owned. “I lost my dolls, my book bag, everything.”
Now Faimée and the rest of her family live in the street. She was sad because she couldn’t return to school- her parents could not afford to pay the school fees for their little girl. She had to lie down most of the time and she needed someone to take care of her.
One day Faimée joined a Child Friendly Space and began to benefit from the time she spent with her new friends there. Now she can walk with crutches and participates in the CFS every day. “Now, I can help my mother again. The CFS is like school, but more fun.”
She was accepted by the other students and feels secure again. Her favorite activities are singing and drawing. “I like the CFS because I can play many games and I see a lot of children every day. They are my friends now.”
The presence of Faimée at the CFS is a blessing for the other students and teachers. They learn to set aside their differences in order to help others. “The children can become children again,” declared one volunteer.
Faimée carries the marks of the earthquake’s violence, but her eyes are full of hope. “I want to be a doctor,” she says, smiling.
Faimée’s father works for FH Haiti, in the Cash for Work program. Now he can provide for the basic needs of his family. Faimée was registered in the FH Child Development Program and we are here to help her find her happiness and her health again.
By Emmanuelle Anglade and Mario Bellevue
Translated by Lauren Marshall