Restavec a word I had never heard until moving to Haiti.
The longer I live in Haiti the more God opens my eyes to things I would rather not have to see. One is the situation of many children, especially girls, from poor families that are given to other family members to raise.
This week little Naftalie (7 years old) was brought to me with a very swollen face and a busted lip. She lives with her grandmother and uncle. Apparently her uncle was upset because the dishes weren’t done so he hit her in the face with the buckle end of a belt. This normally vivacious little girl was so sad and hurt it broke my heart. I have been taking care of her wounds and praying for her healing both bodily and emotionally. Thankfully she still has her baby teeth and only one of them is loose because of this blow.
I do not know the whole situation but do know that apparently her mother lives in PAP and does not come out to see her. Her grandmother and aunt did come by to tell me thank you for taking care of her. Naftalie does attend school for which I am thankful. That is not always the case.
Another little girl that I pray for is Rebecca. She lives next door to us with her extended family. I am not sure of her whole situation but she does not go to school and she is daily washing clothes, cooking, sweeping and tending to the goats. A lot for a little girl of 8 to be doing.
God brings these and others to my mind and heart daily. I am praying that God will open the doors and show us how He wants us to help the girls. This is a real problem in Haiti. Children are left with other family members in hopes for a better life than what they can provide for them. Many times it is better unfortunately, many times, that is not what happens.
The following is taken from Widipedia:
“Restavec from the reste avec, “one who stays with” is a child who is sent by his or her parents to work for a host household as a domestic servant because the parents lack the resources required to support the child. Restavec may refer to any child staying with a host family, but usually refers specifically to those who are indentured.
In Haiti, parents unable to care for children may send them to live with more capable families; often their own relatives or friends. This is tolerated in Haitian culture, but not considered to be preferable. Often the relatives who host restavecs live in more urban areas. The children receive food and housing (and sometimes an education) in exchange for doing housework. However, many restavecs live in poverty, may not receive proper education, and may be abused.
A lot of parents send their children to be restavecs expecting the children will live a better life, but in many cases this is not what happens; simply enough food and housing is what they are awarded with. Children who are raised in a poor family or lose their parents become domestic workers in Haiti, as well.”
Please pray with me for these children.