Thirty-year-old orphan Haitian woman become loving mother to 29 children

25 Jun

Myrlande “M.C” Charelus

mcharel@eagle.fgcu.edu

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Martine Decius, a 30-year-old orphaned Haitian woman, became the loving mother to 29 young children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Decius was born in Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital, in1981. Her father passed away when she was only 12 years old, leaving her to be raised by her mother and her three other siblings. During the devastating 2010 earthquake that struck Haiti, Decius lost her mother and lost contact with her siblings. She has been on her own ever since.

With her previous experience working in other homes, and her love for children, Decius was welcomed with open arms as an employee at “Tree of Life” two years ago. “Tree of Life” is a home that accepted children from newborns to 18-years-old who are either orphans or whose parents can’t take care of them. Decius says she is more than just a caregiver to the children, but she is a mother to them.

“Tree of Life” was founded many years ago by Catherine Cever, a native Haitian who had a passion for children and wanted to give them a chance at a better life. With the decline of the economy and the increase of starvation due to the earthquake, Cever, who recently had a child of her own, ended up losing her job and was unable to support the needs of the children. “With the help of other organizations it was easy to feed 29 children,” said Decius, “but it has become much more of a challenge over the past year as more organizations leave Haiti.”

Due to lack of funds, “Tree of Life” had to close its school’s doors because Cever couldn’t afford to pay the teachers. “I have been working for “Tree of Life” for two years now and I only got paid the first four months,” said Decius. “If I didn’t love these kids, I would have been long gone.”

The fact is most organizations that used to help “Tree of Life” have left Haiti. In lieu of getting her visa to travel to other countries outside of Haiti, Decius used her personal funds to provide food for the orphans. Recently, Cever, the home’s founder, asked Decius to return the kids to their parents or relatives. The problem that Decius is presently facing is some of the children’s parents either died before or during the earthquake. “These children don’t have a home to go to,” said Decius. “I am a 30-year-old woman living single, without a home or someone to call for help. I want to help these kids, I want to give them a home to stay in, but it comes to a point where I can’t do it by myself anymore.”

During the past six months, each person who used to be employed by “Tree of Life” has quit one by one. The one exception is Judeline Dorcainvil, Decius’s 16-year-old cousin, who has stepped in to help with the kids at the home. Decius says she has been calling the kids’ relatives to come pick them up.

“Less than a month ago, there were 29 children at the home, but today there are only 13 of them left.” Decius struggled to remain composed as she talked. “Most of the remaining children have no place else to go and they need to be fed every day, but there are no funds coming in.”

Among the children still at the home is 12-year-old Anne-Marie Dacoline and 11-year-old twin sisters, Dudeline and Dudevarline Joseph.

“I love it here, but I wish my mom would come and get me, so maybe I could go to school” said Anne-Marie.

The Joseph twins’ dad passed away a couple years ago and their mom is mentally ill and unable to care for them.

When asked about what the future holds for her, Decius giggles and says, “At my age, I should have been married, raising a family of my own, so I wish to get married in the future.” Decius’ dream is to do the most she can to provide food for the remaining 13 children. Decius shakes her head when she says, “Unfortunately, without anyone’s help, the future for these children is hopeless.”

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