One of the people I work with in the hen house project is Roseline Magophie, the manager. She is an amazing woman whom I’d like to highlight for International Women of Color Day (March 1) and International Women’s Day (March 8).
Haitians usually go by either their first or last names so its not unusual for a woman to be called Joseph, for example. Magophie, as she is known, is an ag business tech and a veterinary tech as well as the manager for the hen house and an elected community leader for the kazek (sectional council).
She was drawn to agricultural business because she likes farming and producing crops and animals, which she then transforms to sell. In this land of subsistence farmers, this is almost a radical idea. She began giving training to people in her community, especially women, to understand the business side of farming, to give value to what they are producing, to plan, and to budget. She wanted the women to understand their abilities and to help them become independent.
The vet tech degree happened because she would teach the people the value of their animals. Often they are just around because everyone has a goat or chickens for some eggs but they aren’t valued for what they can produce. If an animal got sick, the owners wouldn’t try to cure it but would just let it die. She taught them that their animals have value and can help with household expenses like tuition if they are properly managed. It was during her vet-tech schooling that she met her husband. They have now been married for four years and have two children.
Because of her work in the community, she was elected to the kazek, a four-year term as an administrator of development at the local level. She is supposed to be paid a monthly stipend and have a budget to work with, but with the current situation in the country, she has no budget and rarely receives her stipend. Any help she gives in the community either comes from her own pocket or from fees generated for administrative tasks.
The hen house fits perfectly with her ag business and vet tech education and experience. She sees it as a great value to the community and would love to see it grow. Right now, the hen house doesn’t even begin to fill the demand for eggs in the community.
She is working to not only make the hen house a success but a beautiful and productive space. She has planted flowers and bushes to make it beautiful and has started a garden to produce vegetables to sell to our clients. She wants to show them how it is done to have a small garden to give vegetable for the house or business.