Haiti: Nadine’s story

When she visits the baby tent at Place Boyer Refugee Camp in Pétion-Ville, Nadine Boucher, 32, feels uplifted and hopeful about her baby’s future.

Nadine Boucher’s daughter, Jerika, 7 months old, is growing well, thanks to support from Solange Pierre and other counselors at the baby tent located in the Place Boyer Refugee Camp.

“I have less stress when I come to the tent; that’s good for my baby. I come to weigh her once a week. I like to see that she gains weight. It shows me the baby is healthy. That encourages me to keep up,” Nadine said.

Since the January 12 earthquake, life has been difficult. Nadine and her baby Jerika, a 7-month old girl, live with Nadine’s sister in one of the camp’s many makeshift spaces made of tarps. The two women can’t leave their temporary home at the same time because they fear their belongings will be stolen. Finding food has been difficult because tickets for donated food often run out too quickly. Nadine has been losing weight and sometimes fears that Jerika will also lose weight and become malnourished.

Nadine Boucher (center) takes refuge with other mothers in the baby tent at Place Boyer Refugee Camp.

Yet despite the challenges, Jerika has continued to gain weight and thrive, with the help of Solange Pierre and two other counselors at the baby tent. During frequent visits for counseling, Nadine learns about practicing good hygiene to prevent illness and how to make sure Jerika gets the most nutritious meals from what little food is available. After practicing exclusive breastfeeding for six months, Nadine has successfully continued to breastfeed while adding complementary foods once Jerika turned 6 months old in February.

Solange and her colleagues are continuing to give Nadine the encouragement she needs to nourish her baby and keep her healthy. Now, Nadine shares what she learned from the counselors with her family members and other mothers in the camp.

“As long as I live in this camp I will return [to the baby tent]. I stop by every day. I love to come here to talk to the counselors and the other mothers. Coming to the tent makes me feel better,” said Nadine.  

Learn more about IYCN activities in Haiti.

Photos: Aurelio Ayala III, Richard Lord, Nicole Raccine