To call Fondwa a village is misleading. It has no central point of organization or population density. It is defined by a road that snakes through a valley 40 miles southwest of Port au Prince. Scattered along the road are a Catholic church, a number of Protestant churches, a school and an international guesthouse that also contains the region’s sole clinic. From that main road, a network of footpaths connect white wooden houses that dot the valley in every direction.
The houses are the size of a large living room in the States. Haitian families are not small—there are typically seven or eight children in each. When the children marry and have their own children, they may share the parents’ house.
Our house in Fondwa is almost as crowded. We share it with two Cuban men, a French woman, a community of nuns (two sisters and five novices) and four Haitian women.