The Woman I met on the Streets

7177816216_ff11b7cc59_zRecently, I met a lady on the streets, near a 7-Eleven. I had just purchased a Munchies Peanut inside the store, and I saw her while I stood outside eating my flaming hot peanuts. She looked old, but she wasn’t. She was Haitian. She looked homeless, begging for money. I gave her the few pennies I had in my pocket and she started telling me about her life.

First, she told me that 7-Eleven manager didn’t want her inside the store because the he feared she could “make a mess”. “But I am not making any mess”, she said. “They just don’t want me in there”, she added. I asked her in Creole what she was doing on the streets, if she was homeless. She answered that was looking for an apartment, an efficiency. She said she had found a room, but for some reason the landlord preferred to give the place to someone else. That’s why she was on the streets.

I asked her if she was working, how she intended to pay for the room. She replied she was unemployed, but she was getting money every month because of her disability. I didn’t notice her disability immediately until she stood up and started walking; I noted she was limping a little bit. I asked her where the disability came from, if she was born like this. She said no, she became disabled after giving birth at Jackson Hospital a couple of years ago. In her own words, she said during delivery “they cut something they were not supposed to cut” and that’s when her problem started. She went to the hospital to deliver a baby and she came out with a disability. She said it’s because the people who performed the delivery were not seasoned professionals but medical students.

She said she’s not the only one to complain about medical malpractices at that hospital. She said after the students made their mistakes, they withdrew in a nearby room and started laughing. The lady said she tried to sue the hospital, but they dismissed the case. Instead, they offered her some few compensations like $800/month and a bus pass. “I can’t do anything with $800 a month, I can’t even find a decent room in Miami and I am living on the streets, she said. “They ruined my life and now I’m living in deep poverty”, she added. I asked her if she couldn’t go to a shelter, she categorically refused. “I won’t go to shelters. The women there will rape me”, she replied. I was shocked and asked how. “When they put you in a room with someone else, this person can try to sexually assault you during the night, that happened to me once”, she said. The lady told me they put men with men and women with women in shelters. Some women assault other women and some men rape other men. I asked her if she didn’t have any family in Miami, she said she has a kid, the one she gave birth to, but he is also disabled. Finally, she told me that she was related to Moise Jean-Charles, a well-known Haitian politician.

Jonel Juste 

Author: jjuste02

Journalist, Communication Specialist, Social Media Marketer, blogger, writer, etc.

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