Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 1st 2015 Contents It was bright and hot when she
arrived in Port-au-Prince, just
before noon. She had worn a
white dress, thinking it made her
look more Haitian. The Customs
officials waved her toward a check-
point for citizens.
She was surprised, and a little
annoyed, that her Haitian relatives
weren t at the airport. After a half-
hour drive through the dusty
streets, she arrived at the guest
house where she had booked rooms
for her family for the week. They
weren t there either.
Her adoptive parents had always
raised her to be ten minutes early
to everything. "I m not sure I like
Haitian time," she said.
But then her mother and two
sisters arrived at the steel gate.
Colas climbed slowly out of an
SUV. She paused and stared
at her daughter s face, so
like her own. Then a
spread over her thin features.
As they embraced, the frail older
woman disappeared into the arms
of Mariette, a head taller, with the
athletic build of the college volley-
ball player she once was. The first
words she said to her mother were,
"You re so little!"
Colas leaned back, cradled her
daughter s face to study it. It was
too soon to let go, so they didn t.
They walked arm-and-arm into
the guest house, the rest of the
family trailing behind.
They chatted straight through
lunch with a translator. The next
time you come, Colas told Mariette,
you must bring your family, let me
babysit the kids. "They will stay
with grandma," she laughed. "They
can stay the whole week."
Colas slid her chair
closer to her daughter,
so their shoulders
touched. She reached
out, and stroked
by bit gathered
her mother s
she had ten
them still alive, and earned money
from selling vegetables. She heard
that her father was tall, like Mari-
ette, and had three children by
other women. Colas raised them
all. "My father was a rolling stone,
apparently," she said.
About a half hour later, the con-
versation took a serious turn.
"Do you remember your god-
mother, Rose-Marie?" Colas asked.
She told Mariette how Rose-
Marie, an assistant to a Haitian
pastor who worked in the village,
had offered to take her into her
home in Port-au-Prince.
Mariette was sick and the family
was struggling, so Colas
said yes. She said she
had visited Mari-
Then one day
she went to the
"So, you never wanted me to be
adopted?" Mariette pressed her.
No, her mother said, she never
agreed to her child going away.
What did she do next, Mariette
asked. "I prayed," her mother
replied. "I didn t know what to do.
I felt sick."
Over the coming days, Mariette
could get little more from her
mother. She cursed herself for not
The gap between mother and
daughter only widened the next
day, when she travelled to the fam-
ily home in the countryside, Colas
in the blouse, skirt and new
shoes her daughter
had given her.
It took a day. And
when Mariette got there, she was
The house was made of chipped
cinderblock, with a roof of tree
limbs topped with steel and a hard-
packed dirt floor. There was no
electricity, no running water. A
cluster of plantain leaves out back
served as the latrine, shared with
The nearest drinking water was
a half-hour walk away, and the
family washed with rain that ran
off the roof into a plastic drum. A
tall, faded pink sheet of plywood
passed for a front door, which could
be picked up and set back. The only
windows were spaces in the con-
crete filled with old clothes for pri-
Mariette walked inside with
Colas, not taking off her sunglasses.
She exited almost immediately.
"My initial reaction was, holy
crap, I have to get out of here," she
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Damages for "sexting"
have been awarded for the
The legal precedent was
set in a case where a girl was
encouraged to text sexually-
explicit photographs of her-
self to a teacher.
It means anyone manipu-
lated into sending or receiv-
ing a sexually-explicit
message or image, and who
suffers psychological harm
as a result, can now bring a
claim for compensation.
The National Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to
Children said awards of
damages were important but
risked being misused.
The BBC has spoken to the
victim in the case, who can-
not be named for legal rea-
sons. When she was a
teenager, she developed a
friendship with a teacher at
The New School---an inde-
pendent special needs school
near Sevenoaks in Kent.
William Whillock was the
vice-principal and child pro-
tection officer at the school
and in his mid-50s at the
Damages awarded in 'sexting' case for the first time
Yesterday we published
the first part of the
story by Ben Fox of the
Associated Press about
Mariette Williams, a
Haitian woman who
was adopted by an
American family and
was on her way back to
Haiti to meet her birth
mother and family. In
Williams confronts the
poverty of Haiti and the
difficult story of her
Continues on Page A30
Mariette Williams, centre in white,
watches as her mother Colas
Etienne, from right, niece Tamaica,
and sister Aliette, look at images
of Mariette's children and husband,
in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. AP PHOTO
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