In areas plagued by poverty, live shopkeepers, seamstresses and bakers are emerging success stories made possible by the Boca Grande Hope for Haitians Committee and Food For The Poor.
Over seven weeks, the Gasparilla Gazette will publish seven stories of success from the Boca Grande Friendship Villages of Pierre Payen and Michaud, Haiti: ??
Boca Grande Hope for Haitians Committee success story No. 3
Josiane: A great example of how the gift of a home can change multiple lives.
Before the generosity of Boca Grande donors built Josiane a new home, she was living with her parents and her children with few prospects in life. ??
When she received her new house on a piece of land also donated to her, she worked at planting and growing flowers around it.
Who: Co-chairs Ben and Louise Scott
What: Boca Grande Committee at a reception
When: 6 p.m. Feb. 21
Where: Gasparilla Inn Beach Club, 445 Gilchrist Ave.
Why: Plans will be revealed for Boca Grande Friendship Village III in Manneville, Haiti
Boca Grande Hope for Haitians Committee
Committee members include: Co-chairs Ben and Louise Scott; the Revs. Gary Beatty, Brian Brightly, Jerome Carosella and Michelle Robertshaw; George and Lois Castrucci; Patricia Chapman; Ray and Iliene Corcoran; Charlie and Florita Field; Evelyn Finnegan; Lou and Corie Fusz; Stephen and Susan Jansen; Tom and Nancy Lorden; Colvin and Madelaine McCrady; Peter and Elsa Soderberg; and Sue and Randy Eddy.
She gathered old pieces of wood to build a fence to protect her garden from ravenous goats. Pride of ownership is evident as Josiane always sweeps and keeps her homestead clean. She's managed to get some furniture and did a nice job of decorating. ??
Josiane's story is a reminder of how critically important safe, permanent homes are to families and to creating healthy communities.
Next: Darline V. - A Haitian entrepreneur emerging from the rubble.
Boca Grande Hope for Haitians Committee success story No. 4
Darline V.: Darline once lived in a hovel just trying to survive.
She worked hard to make her small business succeed but lacked the resources to expand or generate much income.
The generosity of the Boca Grande community revitalized her life and business.
After receiving a new house, enterprising Darline salvaged the old tin roof sheets and other usable materials from her old shack and repurposed them to build a shop for her business.
After she received a generous donation of a concrete block machine, she started manufacturing blocks to sell to builders.
She recruited her sister to help her expand and now her sister runs the shop while Darline goes away to replenish tock and buy more goods for resale. ??
Thanks to the Boca Grande community, Darline now has a beautiful shop where one can buy all sorts of canned goods. Her small restaurant serves meals at night on small plywood tables. She sometimes borrows chairs Food For The Poor provided for the community center to seat more people.
Happy now, Darline was by all accounts, a negative, sad person who thought no one liked her. She has become more positive thanks to the love, concern and help she's received from Boca Grande supporters and the Food For The Poor-Haiti staff,
Darline has confidence in herself and now encourages other villagers to behave well and collaborate with each other. She encourages everyone to clean their houses, take care of their trash and water their flowers.??
What a transformation!