She’s known for her sense of humor, her fashionista leanings, and beating anybody with her crochet finesse. Ystania, after working at Haiti Babi for one year making our coveted baby blankets, bought a parcel of land. Yep, though only 10 percent of women in Haiti own land, Ystania defied the odds. A triumph, really. Finding her place on earth.
Her two sons, her mother, plus a niece and nephew all depend on Ystania’s income as a single mother. But in her work with Haiti Babi, Ystania earns more than twice the minimum wage. She sends her sons, niece, and nephew to good schools, though fully half of the children in Haiti can not afford an education.
This is the power of a woman’s hands. Her strength. Skill. Imagination. Resilience. Her capacity to dream. It is astonishing to know how this woman has transformed the lives around her. Not only those closest who depend on her, though the story there is remarkable enough. But the economic multiplier effect at Haiti Babi is six, meaning that for every job there, 6 other jobs are created, and in a country where jobs are rare.
With every paycheck, Ystania is putting away savings to build a house for her family on her land. To build a house. I am swept with tears of astonishment as I write this, looking upon these faces, sensing again (and again and again) how powerful is a woman’s spirit. How big her love. All she needs is a needle and thread and an unstoppable dream. With that, and fortitude and patience, hard-work and humor, Ystania is building a life. And a home to hold it all.
I would be so proud, one day, to enter it.
All the best,
Susan Hull Walker