Mrs. Manouchka is in charge of house eleven at SOS Children’s Village Les Cayes in Haiti; she has been an SOS mother for two years. Manouchka says that back when she was younger, she took care of children in her neighbourhood; “so when this opportunity came, I knew I could do it. I take good care of the children. Even though it is hard sometimes, I really like what I am doing.”
Manouchka testing her children on their homework
Manouchka says coping with the children’s mannerisms has been her main challenge. They all come from different places and backgrounds, and so their behaviours are diverse. “The training I received, plus support from the social worker are tools I needed to manage the children, and to help them settle in this new environment”, she adds.
Currently there are six children in the family house; Adele* is the oldest one, she is eight years old. Luke* is seven. Then there are two biological brothers David* and Joel*; six and four years respectively. Lastly, is Aline*, seven, and Marcel*, five, two siblings who came to the SOS Children’s Village in mid-2015 because her mother had a mental illness.
Adele doing her homework
“Aline was a little quiet when she arrived, she did not talk much. Today, she is really independent and talks to everyone”, says Manouchka laughing, as Marcel, Joel and their neighbour Marie do their homework in the dining room. “She is loving and intelligent; she really likes chatting and laughing”.
Manouchka says Aline is also a very responsible girl. She helps around the house, knows where everything is kept, and is always willing to help run errands. Manouchka recently discovered that Aline is jealous of her younger SOS brothers and sisters “
Adele and her brother doing Marcel
“This happens especially when I am teaching them to read or when I am feeding them. Aline is a big girl now and she can do these things by herself, but she does not like it; she wants my attention. But I am taking care of this, I explain her role as a big sister and she is starting to like the responsibility.”
Aline goes to SOS Hermann Gmeiner School, she is in the first grade. She loves all the subjects but reading is what she likes best. Her favourite books are Youpi and Wi mwen kon li (Yes, I know how to read), “I like the books because they help me improve my reading skills.” Finally, as Aline whispers her thoughts in Creole and tries very hard to speak French, she says her dream is to become a teacher, “because I want to help others learn to read and write.”
Biological brothers David and Joel
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