• By Chrissy Andre, SUNY College at Old Westbury, Class of 2010 -

    Growing up, Saturday mornings meant that my mother would be taking my little sister and I on grocery shopping trips. What made our shopping trips different is that she would buy food for our house and she would buy food for Paput, her elderly friend. Paput is diabetic and also suffers from high blood pressure, so my mom would make sure to buy her foods that went with the diet that the doctor put her on. After eating Saturday dinner we would travel to her house and deliver the groceries to her home. Paput was always so appreciative of the gesture. She would call my mom her only daughter.

    Recently I saw Paput and it was under circumstances that were a little different. My mother was going on a trip to Atlanta and she didn’t want Paput to leave without seeing how much my sister and I had grown since she last saw us. You see, Paput now no longer resides in the U.S, but has made Haiti her permanent home. Following the headlines of Haiti, we know that it isn’t in the best of conditions at the present moment. After the devastating earthquake on January 12th, 2010 and the cholera epidemic, one may wonder why she would leave the US to go back to Haiti.

    Paput now is 84 years old and isn’t able to function the way that she used too. She was living on the 6th floor in her apartment complex and the elevator was frequently out of order. Her two children reside in Haiti and she didn’t have anyone to help her with the daily struggles that everyday life presented her with. My mother could no longer afford to buy groceries for both houses because her hours were cut at her job. She was able to fill our refrigerator and if she had a little extra she would buy a few things for Paput. Paput had almost weekly doctors’ appointments and it was becoming impossible to make it to them because she couldn’t walk the distance to get on the bus.

    Paput made the decision in 2005 that she would permanently move back to Haiti, although she is a citizen of the U.S. Her home in Haiti was all on the first level, so there were no difficult steps to climb. Her children lived nearby her and they could get the medications and take her to her necessary doctors’ appointments. Most of all she says she missed her freedom to do things on her own.

    Paput now only comes to the United States if it is an emergency. By emergency I mean if she cannot find the necessary, medications in Haiti, she will come back to the states and get it. This buy no means is an easy task for an 84 year old but she says it makes her life a lot easier. I was amazed at the fact that she would turn her back on “great healthcare” to go back to Haiti. It shows me that the plight of the elderly in our community is worse than I thought.

    How many Paput’s are out there who are struggling with the same problems she was? How many senior citizens are looking for someone to supplement aide to them so they can maintain an independent lifestyle? We have to open our eyes and find solutions before the issue becomes immeasurable.

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    This entry was posted on Friday, August 5th, 2011 at 3:08 pm and is filed under Stories & Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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