Marie Carmelle and Aléus

 In Class of 2028, Stories of Change

When Marie Carmelle and Aléus were thinking about where to send their daughter Beverly to school, they faced a quandary. “The closest school was Sebien’s, down in Mariaman,” Aléus explained, “but it’s a long walk for her, and it’s expensive, too. She was always getting there late, and we had trouble paying. It just didn’t work.”

When they learned that ADECA would be opening just a few hundred yards from their home in Ba Osia, sending her there was an easy decision.

Then they started going to parents’ meetings and were surprised by what they heard. “They told us not to hit Beverly,” Marie Carmelle remembered. “But my mother hit me, and Aléus’s mother hit him.”


It seemed strange. But they decided to try it out, and have been happy with the results. “Kids are naughty,” Marie Carmelle continued. “They misbehave sometimes if you hit them, and they misbehave if you don’t. So why hit them?” Aléus added, “What I learned from ADECA is that if I hit Beverly because she makes me mad, she will think that she can hit other people who make her mad, too. I’m glad we don’t hit anymore.”

They were also surprised to discover they’d have to volunteer at the school for four hours every week. “When you think how inexpensive it is to send Beverly there, the four hours seems like nothing,” Marie Carmelle said. “But when I got a job on the construction team, it was hard. Working on the site for most of a day and then volunteering at the school it a lot. But it’s worth it.”

Women don’t normally work construction in Haiti, so when Marie Carmelle was hired to be part of the Extollo team, Aléus wasn’t sure what to think. “I was glad she had found a job. It really helps us. But you just don’t see women in Haiti doing that work.”

Her regular income has made it easier for him to concentrate on farming, which brings in food and money at best in lumps, at harvest. Her regular salary means that he doesn’t have to take time off from farm work to make some quick cash to feed a hungry household. They can count on her earnings when they have to. And between her regular salary and his improved harvests, they saved up enough to build a two-room house. The roof will be going on in the next few weeks. The house will finally replace the shack built of rusted old roofing tin that they’ve been living in since the earthquake.

Beverly is in her third year at the school now, and she couldn’t be happier. “This year is better. We get to use books.” Now her little brother, Marvens, is in school at ADECA, too. “We want our kids to get a good education so that they can help themselves tomorrow,” Aléus said. Marie Carmelle added, “And I want them to grow up loving each other so they’ll both always have someone to count on.”

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