On a small street in a town right outside of Port-au-Prince, I met a small boy with a yellow shirt, no shoes and a very dirty face. He looked very sad and very desperate, with seemingly no self-esteem. His name was Job. He was 14 and had been living in restavek since the age of 5. After his parents died, he, his 3 brothers and his friend Daniel decided come to Duplan to search for a job and a better life.
Job says that unfortunately, when he arrived in Duplan he ran into a man named Felix. Felix asked him questions about himself and where he lived. After talking with him, Felix decided to move Job to his house. The first week that Job was there, everything was good. He got enough food, sleep, and time to play. After the first week, however, his life started to change. His day started looking something like this: wake up at 3AM to fetch the water, herd the goats, go to the market, tend to the garden, clean the house, mop, cook, ending after 9 PM every day. Most of the time he was very tired, hungry and dirty but he could not do anything about it because he was alone. He wanted to go to school but he didn’t have money or access to school.
A week after our initial meeting, I met with Job outside of a school. He sat by himself along with the goats, assisting the children who played football. I sat down beside him and asked him how he was; he was very shy to answer with closed body language. When he finally spoke I could barely hear him. He didn’t want to participate in the football championship because he didn’t have any friends. His face was sad, lacking self-esteem and seemed very desperate. I asked him if I could help him. He asked if I could help him go to school because he wanted to get out of restavek. He asked that I go to talk to his host parent (Felix) to reduce the amount he had to do so he could go to school. While he was speaking to me, he began to cry.
It has been 7 months since I met Job, and he is now enrolled in school and is in the 2nd grade. He is very intelligent and always completes his lessons. After I went to talk to his host parent, Job’s living conditions have changed and his self-esteem has improved. When I visit him at his school, he is always smiling. He now believes in himself and has the confidence to participate in activities, like football. He even has a best friend now and wants to be a teacher when he grows up. His life has changed completely.
I love seeing this change in Job. It proves to me just how far an education and a little love and friendship will go. With your help, we can change the lives of children like Job!