Even working in Haiti, a country devastated by the earthquake and with a tragic history of darkness, I don't often think about death here.
Then my friend Denise died.
We received some sad news this past week that Denise had been hit by a taptap (taxi truck) and fell on her head. She died on the way to the hospital.
I'm in denial. I was just starting to get to know her better. She was a strong woman within the village who was constantly fighting for her family.
My memories of Denise always include her family. She always had a smile on her face - even when you knew she was hungry or worried about her family. During community meetings, she would listen to everyone talk (or yell in some cases), then would raise her hand and stand to speak. When she spoke, the people listened.
I loved watching her with her children. Culturally, most woman are very rough with their kids, others make their children wait on them hand and foot, but Denise was always playing with hers and caring for them with love.
Denise leaves behind five children and a husband, Roly. He is the hardest worker in the village - ready to work when work is available. He has played a vital role in the development of the agricultural area and now he is going to have to learn to live without his other half. The entire village is mourning while some are helping to care for her children.
For poor, earthquake displaced families in Haiti there are no safety nets such as life insurance or a savings to fall back on. I will be back to the village on Wednesday to assess the situation and to encourage the people.
Since Denise was a woman of small business, we are starting a micro-enterprise fund in her memory. Her husband will be the first beneficiary along with the other families who are helping to care for her children.
To donate, select the "Donate" button for Google Checkout in the right navigation bar.