“It's Thanks to Kore Timoun that my Children are Alive”

A Leogane family is together, thanks to the work of the
Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti,
known locally as Kore Timoun.

by Maude Plucker, Kore Timoun Fellow

A twenty-minute drive or a four-hour walk from the Kore Timoun headquarters in Leogane, Haiti, a family with six children live in a small wooden home with a red door. Kore Timoun has knocked on this door many times, in the aftermath of earthquakes, hurricanes, and man-made disasters. The red door opens into the home of the Lapé family. From 2003 - 2011, the Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti helped four Lapé children recover from the pervasive effects of poverty and malnutrition. 

Today, we have not come to weigh, measure, and help feed their children. Kore Timoun staff Guirlene Joseph, Ralph Petit-Frere, and I have come to visit, meet the family, and share stories.  

 Kore Timoun Clinic Manager and  Monitrice  Guirlene Joseph (L) with Edouard Lape and family.

Kore Timoun Clinic Manager and Monitrice Guirlene Joseph (L) with Edouard Lape and family.

Papa Edouard sits on his porch watching his two youngest sons, Esaï and Sonson, play together. A breeze runs across the three rooms of his wooden house, sways through the sheer curtain hanging in the front door and sweeps further to cool Edouard on this hot and humid October day. Esaï and Sonson run around the pillar that his stool leans against, each grasping his arms and clasping at his fingers as they spin. The boys giggle when they lean back and balance themselves on their father’s long limbs. Sonson pulls his body forward and perches himself on his father’s lap, who begins rubbing his boy’s back in slow circles.

Esaï raises his shirt up to reveal a healthy tummy that bounces in and out as he giggles and catches his breath.

Manman Simone appears from behind the swaying curtain and sits on the porch ledge, watching her husband tickle and hold their boys. She calls for her eldest daughter, Patricia, who peeks out the curtain to briefly check if her other siblings are home from school. It’s just past 4 p.m. They should return soon.

When Patricia sees Ms. Guirlene, she breaks into a smile and steps out into the light to embrace her. 

 Old friends Patricia Lapé (L) and Guirlene Joseph, with Patricia’s little brother.

Old friends Patricia Lapé (L) and Guirlene Joseph, with Patricia’s little brother.

Ms. Guirlene is Kore Timoun’s Clinic Manager. She knows the Lapé family well. In fact, since Ms. Guirlene joined Kore Timoun in 2001 as a monitrice (community health educator), she has been instrumental in treating the Lapé children, four of whom suffered from acute malnutrition as young children. 

This family has always shown a commitment to the health of their children. Despite the long distances, they would walk to our clinics to show up at their appointments on time and they never missed an appointment. They always respected my advice and took it to heart to save their children. I love this family. -Guirlene Joseph

Kore Timoun is immensely proud to work with parents like Edouard Lapé and Simone Joissaint. They are one of many families in the remote reaches of Leogane who fight for their children’s survival with strength and resilience.

When Simone was twenty-one years old, she gave birth to her first child, Vincent. Soon after, Patricia was born. When Ms. Guirlene came to their home to screen Simone’s babies for malnutrition, she confirmed the diagnosis. Thereafter, the Joissaints and Kore Timoun worked closely to bring the babies to health. 

Simone and Edouard travelled long distances on foot, carrying their children, to attend weekly appointments at our ambulatory treatment program center in Bino LaPointe, in the first section of the Leogane Commune. Almost a decade later, they did the same when Kore Timoun diagnosed two of their younger children with acute malnutrition. 

 Mom Simone Joissaint (L) and her family share a smile with Guirlene.

Mom Simone Joissaint (L) and her family share a smile with Guirlene.

“Ms. Guirlene taught me how to feed my children better quality food despite having little money,” Simone reflects. “When I cook, I use leafy greens, carrots, salt herring, and moringa leaves. That’s what Kore Timoun told me to make to improve the health of my children. Kore Timoun healed four of my children who had malnutrition.

Edouard and Simone are immensely grateful for Kore Timoun and for Ms. Guirlene in particular. “My family and I are proud of Kore Timoun. Glory for Kore Timoun,” Simone told Ms. Guirlene.  “Kore Timoun is a good place,” Edouard adds, “more than good. It’s thanks to Kore Timoun that my children are alive. More children need Kore Timoun here in this area. Please come more often.”

 “What is your aspiration in life?” Guirlene asks Patricia.

Breaking into a smile, Patricia states confidently, “I want to become a nurse so I can help others. I would love to work for Kore Timoun one day.”