“After my mom passed away, I took over her mini supermarket stall. It was a lot of responsibility at 9 years old, but I had to care for my family. Our stall was similar to the farmer’s market here in town except we didn’t pay rent. A wealthier man in town owned the land and allowed us to set up our stalls because he wanted people to better their lives. My business gave me a sense of purpose and helped care for my family.
When I came to the U.S. in 1986, I let my business go. You needed a permit here. Things were different.
I started working in the packing houses packing every kind of vegetable that was in season. I eventually was able to work in other industries, but I had an accident at my last job that left me to take care of the home and garden.
I was my own boss in Haiti and I want my daughters to do the same. I have tried to instill the same mindset in my daughters because I know the value of being your own person and boss.”
Claire, a retired business owner, spends her time gardening and caring for her family.
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Maria Plata is a Mexican-American writer, educator, and lover of connecting people through storytelling.