A Path Appears: Hopeful Updates

February 10, 2015 by Craig Phillips in Where Are They Now?

marilaine from Haiti, in A Path Appears
Marilaine, rescued from life as a “restavek” in Haiti

The three-part series A Path Appears may have just concluded its run on PBS [and for a limited time you can watch all three episodes online if you missed it], but the work we see in the series is obviously far from done. The fine folks at A Path Appears have been posting updates on their blog from some of the people featured in the series, and we wanted to share with you highlights from those reports.

First off, a letter from Marilaine, the 13- year-old girl attending SOPUDEP’s free school. During her first meeting with Nicholas Kristof and Alfre Woodard, Marilaine was still a “restavek,” a child domestic slave. She wrote to the team at A Path Appears to share her journey since that day, as well as her hopes for the future:

I have enjoyed everything I have experienced at the Transitional Home this past year. My favorite was when I got to be present at the finale of the Miss Haiti competition, and they even came to the Transitional Home to visit! I asked them questions and they taught me to walk like them. We even had our own contest of Miss Transitional House, and I was second.

I love playing with my sisters, teasing Mamie Adeline and Tatie Regine, going to the beach, eating pizza in the restaurant with Mamie Joan and having visitors like Life Church, Calvary Church and others. They are strangers at first, but they love us. I have a lot of fun. When I grow up I want to be a nurse. This will allow me to help others and take care of them as the Foundation and the staff have taken care of me. In the future I hope that the world finds joy and peace, and that all children are equal with all families will be able to take care of their children.

Shana Goodwin, of Thistle Farms
Shana Goodwin, of Thistle Farms

The Path Appears team also brings us this update about Shana and Sheila, who are in Nashville and featured prominently in the first episode about sex trafficking:

Shana and Shelia from Thistle Farms are both doing great! Shana is rocking the sales team, helping to place Thistle Farms’ products with over 400 retailers and extending her role as mentor and educator by joining the A Path Appears team in the Capitol to share her experiences with Ashley Judd and select members of Congress. Shelia joined Shana on stage at the Nashville premiere of A Path Appears and just completed her first year overseeing our program for inmates at Magdalene on the Inside, a reentry program for women incarcerated at the Tennessee Prison for Women!

Thistle Farms is thriving too. It reached its $1M milestone in revenue this past summer and launched a new initiative called Shared Trade, taking the Thistle Farms model global. Founder Becca Stevens also published a new book, The Way of Tea and Justice, recounting the victories and challenges of launching the Thistle Farms Café, and sharing the powerful personal stories of café workers, tea laborers, and volunteers whose lives were transformed by the journey.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Tom Dart of Cook County, Illinois, who is also featured in that first episode, helped coordinate another edition of “National Johns Day,” this time on Super Bowl Sunday.

“Sex trafficking continues to destroy countless lives, and this broad national movement should send a strong message to prospective johns that their ‘hobby’ is much more than a ‘victimless’ crime,” say Dart.

The 17-state campaign was the largest one since Dart launched “National Johns Day” four years ago (2,900 johns have been caught in total), and we are sure it will continue to grow.

And we leave you with this poem from Eunice, a 5th grader at the Kibera School for Girls:

Thank you for watching A Path Appears. May the path continue.

Craig Phillips

Craig is the digital content producer for Independent Lens, based in San Francisco. He is a film nerd, cartoonist, classic film poster collector, wannabe screenwriter, and owner of/owned by cats.