Saveur's story was originally featured in the 2012 Fall Newsletter.
When I came to this country from Haiti in 2009, I expected to work as an electrician, which I did there for thirty-five years. My wife died in 2000, and my daughter got me here on a green card, but there were no jobs for electricians when I arrived. I was too old, and no one connected me with people who could get me a job.
Then my daughter didn't want me around anymore. She has a daughter, and they had their own problems – and I had mine – so I ended up on the street and eventually at Pine Street Inn in 2010. My daughter moved away. I don’t know where. At first, I didn't trust or open up to anyone. I was finally diagnosed with major depression and put on medication. If it weren't for Johanna, my counselor at Pine Street, I don’t know where I would be now. She has been my family.
While at Pine Street, I attended ESL classes twice a week. I go to a Seventh Day Adventist church every week. Johanna encouraged my going back to church, where I have lots offriends. The preacher also has been helpful. I have tears of happiness. I never dreamed that I could have my own apartment with my own set of keys. I don’t drink or smoke, and having my own place without the crowds at the shelter is wonderful. I can have my two adult children in Haiti visit me when they’re on vacation.
I still want to find a job as an electrician. I’m also able to fix refrigerators and freezers. I am a respectful person, don’t steal or break the law and do what I’m supposed to. Maybe I was born that way. I also look forward to finding another woman to be with for the rest of my life. If I am healthy and with God’s help, I can achieve a lot.