Hope, Prayer, and Poverty

Haiti’s women live with violence, destitution–and renewed promise

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Like an increasing number of Haitian women, Madame Dentes Delfoart provides much of her family’s income; she sells small quantities of food from a shed in front of her house. But for other women in this densely populated country, sex is one of the few viable commodities. Unprotected intercourse sells for $1.75; a virgin gets $5.

Women’s hopes were raised in 1994, however, with the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In a symbolic move, he recently turned over the Quartier Gnralathe military headquarters where many of the nation’s violent coups were planned–to a ministry for women.

Madame Delfoart, 41, shares her small home with two of their four surviving children and her husband, who grows bananas and potatoes. A Pentecostal, she prays, she says, everywhere and at all times.

MADAME DELFOART: My mother was too poor to send me to school, so my work has always been to do a little selling from my house. Three or four times a week I go to the market to buy the things I sell. I go on my burro, so this takes me all day. Monsieur Delfoart does not sell what he grows in his garden, but if he gets a job he gives me the money. Whatever we have to do, I am the one to do it. It makes me sad that we don’t have any money, because I would really like to renovate my house. But still, my family is not really poor. When we’re fine, we’re fine. When we’re not fine, we’re not fine. I can’t change my life.

I’ve had six babies and lost two; my mother made six and lost three. It is God who gives us children, God who decides these things. I gave birth to all my children in my house, with no doctor–I have never been to a doctor–only my mother. My husband stayed outside and prayed for me.

I’m very happy in my marriage; we take care of each other and support each other, we will love each other for life and die together. He is the only man I admire, the only man I confide in. My life is in his hands.

Go to Russia . . .

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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