Reunification Story: Jacky

January 28th, 2015

Mama Jacky and her five children are our Haiti Mama family living closest to life and death. She has the most beautiful baby. I feel the love of an aunt for that sweet child. The baby has been sick, her hair is starting to look malnourished, she was severely dehydrated in December. I was starting to panic. I was starting to get a little mad at the universe for not making it easier to change this families circumstances. 

Everyone who works in Haiti has experienced death. Lots of death. Everyone but me. I am terrified of losing a client to poverty. 

The Social Work: 

Intake and Family History: 
Social Workers met Jacky on July 7th, 2014 at Place Boyer in Petionville. He reported living and sleeping on the streets. Jacky exhibited fear and confusion, he avoided all confrontation and often disappeared when other children or adults exhibited escalated emotion. Jacky engaged best when only with a social worker in a one on one setting. Jacky rarely showed positive emotion. 

Haiti Mama Social Workers began to develop trust and built an alliance with Jacky. Theodore was determined the best fit for client when beginning reunification process. 

Clients self-report: 
Displaced from mother during the earthquake. Moved to Petionville with father. Father gave him as restavek (child slave) to wealthy Haitian family. Jacky was abused and not fed while working for this family. He stole $800 US from family and ran away. He returned to his father's home. His father threatened to kill him for stealing, and sent him to the streets. Jacky met Haiti Mama approximately two months later. Location of mother unknown since earthquake. 

7/29/14: Haiti Mama social workers visited Jacky's father's home. Father threatened to kill Jacky while social workers were present. Social workers asked father for other family contacts and any family information, father provided phone number for maternal aunt. Jacky returned to streets. 

8/1/14; Phone Call: Theodore reaches Jacky's aunt on the phone, who confirms that Jacky's mother was moved to Canaan tent cities after the earthquake. Aunt called Theodore again in the afternoon to confirm that Jacky's mother was in Canaan, but did not have a phone. 

8/4/14: Theodore and Jacky leave Petionville on moto to Canaan to search for Jacky's mother. 

Theodore's report: We arrived at Canaan and begin to walk on foot, asking the community if they knew Jacky's mother. We were unable to find her for one hour while walking. I went to buy water for Jacky and I. Jacky began to run because he saw his mother. His mother saw him and ran to him too. It was a very happy moment. His mother cried to see him. Jacky is back with his mother now. 
But this family is very poor. They do not have enough to live. They do not have enough food or enough water. I told I would like to bring my boss to meet her. She wants you to come. 

8/11/14: All Haiti Mama social workers and team leader travel to Canaan to meet Mama Jacky, complete assessment and rehabilitation plan. Family was warm and generous. Mama Jacky and Jacky smiled the entire visit. Social Workers assessed need and offered temporary support of food and water. Social workers began education plan for Jacky, and employment plan for Chantelle. Social workers offered children's Tylenol to mother for two year and baby and provided repeated instructions of safe use. 

It costs Haiti Mama $30-$40 to travel to Canaan to visit this family. Theodore visited them every other week bringing food. He continued to report that their deplorable living conditions with genuine concern. Theodore successfully enrolled Jacky in school, Haiti Mama provided a school uniform, shoes, a backpack and all of the books needed. 

Haiti Mama executive director, Tausha Pearson, returned to the US October 6th, 2014 to obtain sponsorship for this family and others. 

Sponsorship was not obtained. Tausha returned to Haiti in December. The two youngest children in the family were extremely malnourished, dehydrated, and sick. Haiti Mama provided food and water and reported to family that sponsorship had not been obtained. 

The difference between american social work, and international social work is immense. In the states, I would have every resource needed to stabilize this family. For Haiti Mama families- I have to find the money. I posted their story. I prayed. I cried. I talked to people in person. I told more people their story. The sponsorship just didn't come. But, my God is faithful- this I know. 

Watch the video below for the AMAZING intervention that happened for this family: 

Huffington Post, Mama Jacky's Story