marchantEverywhere you go in Haiti- and I mean everywhere- the one thing that you are sure to see is women carrying baskets on their heads. Downtown they go, down to the village with hand woven baskets that sit gently on a coiled towel on top of their heads. Each morning they go to fill up their baskets from the trucks that come with loads of sellables. They load up and they walk around, or sit, all day long selling their goods for what little change they can make to take home to their children. These “marchants” are the pillars of Haitian society. They are the ones who break their backs all day for their kids to be fed and taken care of. They are the fiber and thread of family life for the poor of Haiti.

Today I stepped out of my door and heard a woman calling out her marketing melody. They all sing or chant in a guttural tone about what they are selling. She was selling soap. I wish I had had my camera on me. She was walking quickly down the street and singing about her soap. I called her over to me. I am sure she thought she was about to get a sale. I asked her how much money she can make in a day. She was weathered and old and probably only fourty but looked like she was sixty. She appeared frail as a rail but her neck and back were as strong as an ox. I imagine she had 30 pounds or more worth of powdered soap on her head. She stopped and came over to me and answered my question.

Without hesitation she said,  “I can make $25 a day on a good day and I am sending my oldest son to University and my youngest to high school.”

My jaw dropped in surprise. This woman had purpose and determination like I rarely see. I gave her a high five and told her she was doing a great job. And off she went, singing her song.

As she walked down the street, I was left in amazement. Here is this poor lady, this weathered and worn down lady and she is on fire. She has a purpose and she is walking down the street like she is on a mission. Like a soldier.  She is changing the course of history for her children through her determination. I was mesmorized by her. So inspired.

She gave me hope that there are still so many little bitty people that no one pays attention to in this world who are getting up every morning and trying to change their corner of the world.

“Chapo ba” (Hats off) to this lady. I pray she sells out today.