In the heat of the afternoon, when all the other children have grown tired of jump roping and gone home to their houses around the valley of Nan wo, ten year old RoseMicaelle Joachin looks around at the empty school building and the passing motorbikes bustling down the dust village road and sighs. She doesn’t go home because, well, this is home for now. Pastor Louinet, the school superintendent, agreed to take RoseMicaelle, her father, and her three siblings in and house them in a windowless corrugated metal shack behind the church a year and a half ago after her mother left them for a life in the big city of Port au Prince. Today, as everyday, RoseMicaelle is in charge of cooking for her dad, two brothers and sister, so she draws water from the well and begins preparing the rice and bean sauce for tonight’s dinner, thinking about her life and her future.
As much as she loves school, RoseMicaelle’s real passion is in creating beauty. She loves to paint the girls’ nails, thinking about what it would be like to fix ladies’ hair and give manicures. And although she’s never sewn anything, her biggest dream is of one day being a seamstress, custom tailoring, designing, and creating beautiful clothes. If only she had the money, she would buy the finest threads in the most brilliant colors and create masterpieces! But that is a far-off dream for a 3rd grader in a rural corner of Haiti trying to be a student and a substitute mother.