Date of birth: January 15th
Place of birth: Kenscoff, Haiti
Why she is a Fanm Fò:
Viergina Jacquesilien is a fruit and vegetable vendor, from Kenscoff. She was born on January 15th and has been selling with her mother since she was 8 years old. This year makes it 16 years since she has had her own stall in the street market on Rue Oge in Petion-Ville.
She is a mom of three; she has two children from a first marriage, but her husband left her 11 years ago. She has since restarted her life with someone else, and they have a two year-old daughter together. Viergina, known as Nonone, insisted on saying that she is the one who takes care of her children and other responsibilities. Her partner helps but she relies on herself and what she can bring to the home. “Even if you have a partner, Haitian men have too many households to take care of.” she said. She further explained, “Whether you are bourgeois or poor, men will always have other women, so you have to take care of yourself and your kids”.
This Fanm Fò seems to have a pretty good handle of what it means to be an entrepreneur, she knows that sometimes things are slow and understands that deficit is part of being in business. She has managed to make a living for herself over the years, and is currently building her own home, although it has been 9 years since she’s started. “Malerèz pa bati youn sèl kou.” The poor cannot build all at once, she says.
To me Viergina is a Fanm Fò because her story is inspirational. As a woman and a mother, I can see myself in her. Her words ignited something inside of me and instantly encouraged me. Her life is defined by hard work and dedication, she works long hours, forgetting herself so that she can provide for her family. “Ou bliye tèt ou pou timoun.” You forget yourself for your children. She is a Fanm Fò because in a country where one has to create their own opportunities, she has adopted the following words as her life philosophy:
“Lè se fanm ou ye, ou fèt pou pran lari, fòk ou met kò w deyo pou chache lavi” When you are a woman, you must pound the pavement, you must put yourself on the line in search of a better life.
“Lè se fanm ou ye, ou fèt pou pran lari, fòk ou met kò w deyo pou chache lavi” – Viergina Jacquesilien