Video Interview with Marie Masson and Anpechman, Summer 2010 (Haitian Creole)
*The English interpretation below has been slightly modified for conciseness, clarity, and contextual understanding. Creole to English translation by Luckenson Noel, The Washington Center Fall 2010 Intern at International Action, and Anon.
Marie L. Masson:
My name is Marie Louna Masson Beauliere. I am the director of the Lafana Institute of Hope, an orphanage serving the children of Fauché. It is named after my mother Madame Fana Masson nee Valentin and father LaFleur Masson. They were people who devoted their lives to helping others. All throughout my childhood, they were always cooking lots of food in big pots, and all the children from the community would gather around to eat.
No matter what time of the day it was, my mother would always go around the neighborhood and further down the road to houses farther away, feeding and helping people. When she passed away, I decided that the right thing to do was to continue her mission.
In the beginning, we also started helping families that could not afford it, to pay for schooling for their children. We tried paying tuition for some of the children in the community, but it was impossible to fund all of the needy families.
Soon after, we decided that it would be better to hold classes right on the Lafana property in the backyard. All we had to do was to pay a few teachers to come and instruct the children instead of paying individual schooling costs for each child.
The First Baptist Church of Fauché helped in this endeavor. We are extremely grateful for their help to provide for the children in the area. We’d also like to thank the Lord, because all this would not have been possible without the help of God.
I had the option of staying in the United States with my husband and daughters, and I had many career opportunities available to me. I was very busy, working more than one job as well.But I reflected on the difficulties of my childhood—For instance, as a little girl, I had to walk an hour and a half to school, each way, leaving home at 7:30 in the morning and returning at 6pm.
I would not like for kids growing up in this generation to endure the hardships I had faced at their age.That’s why I thought it was a great idea to open the school. It is completely free, so parents and guardians cannot complain about not being able to send their kids to school because of financial problems. We provide everything that we believe parents will need to prepare the children for school, so that the students can gain knowledge and reach their potential.
In addition to opening a school for the children of Fauché, we also started an orphanage. We ask mothers, fathers, and guardians that are unable to provide for their children to entrust them to our care. The same goes for pregnant women who are considering abortion. Every one deserves to live. We pledge to take good care of any child given to us.
The Hope (“Espoir” in French) in our orphanage and school’s moniker underscores Lafana’s aim to raise children in a matter conducive to realizing the hopes and aspirations of the people of Fauché.
Many of the people living in Fauché are impoverished, with few opportunities for educational advancement and economic growth. It is easy to get discouraged, but God helps us. Even though we may face hardships, we hang in there regardless. We have been operating for quite a while now, serving the greater Fauché community.
But we are now greatly affected by the after-effects of the January 12, 2010 earthquake. The earthquake shattered the school and also where the kids sleep. It has put our construction to a halt. It is very difficult to continue, as we physically have nowhere to put the children. But we will do our best. There are many things we’d like to do for the children, but can only do it for them on step at a time. We have high hopes for them and would like to see them reach for the stars.
I am thankful for meeting people who want to help Lafana and Haiti, like Anpechman and Jeremy Mak. Jeremy has done many things to help us. He is the Program Coordinator for International Action and helps coordinate assistance and in-kind donations from other NGOs.
I hope that Haitians living abroad remember Haiti and do their best to help their motherland. We cannot leave Haiti without returning home. Though I left Haiti, she remained in my heart. Because I love Haiti, even my children—who are naturalized Americans—they love Haiti, too. Remember Haiti, please.