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Healing through crochet

August 11, 2012
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I taught a few classes when I first moved to New York in 2004. It is not my favorite thing to do but it was bringing some steady side cash so I was happy. I also started a small custom made crochet/knitting business for 2 months at the end of 2009. Then an earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010 and I got a job as a volunteer for 2 weeks. I ended up working in Haiti for two years.

I was free on weekends and thought I could offer my services as a crocheter to a local organization. I found one working with children living on the street and working as domestics. Once a week on Saturday I would meet about 7-12 children ages 7 to 15 for about 2 hours. These children sometimes are not even in their teens but yet take care of all the domestics duties of the home and often care for their employers children. They are known as restaveks and it is a very old custom in Haitian community. Normally children are expected to help in the household. They are also subjected to the rules of their parents but the situation of restaveks is many times worst than that of other children. They are often beat, sexually abused, do not get an education and work for free. Coming to an environment outside of their place of work was therapeutic because it was the only place they could meet other children and freely express themselves. I can remember their little faces waiting patiently for my arrival with their crochet and ball of yarn in hand. It was priceless.

In May this year I decided to leave Haiti and my children. I do regret not having planned for a new instructor and I often think about what have happened to them. If they found a new place where they could just be children, if something bad happened to them, If they returned to their parents, if…, if…

I will talk a lot about Haiti because I feel such a bond and a love for that piece of land that it hurts. The situation of children is horrible. They are denied even basic rights as individuals and it seems that changing adult behaviors towards children will take a really long time if it ever happens.

But I am in for the fight.

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