Jolissant Can Paint
Meet Jolissaint Joseph. Jolissaint is 26 year old, kind young man living in Haiti. In June 2014, he was in the Dominican Republic doing construction work. On one particular day he was carrying a large amount of electrical wire up to the second floor of a house when the wire touched a live wire crossing the roof. Jolissaint was thrown off his feet following the huge bolt of electricity that went through his body.
Jolissaint received severe electrical burns to both arms and the right side of his body. He was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital and after 12 days of medical care, they needed to amputate both of his arms below his elbows in order to save his life. He remained in the hospital 71 days before he was able to go home.
Then is when he found out how difficult life would be now that he had no hands. Basic life tasks were now almost impossible. Without his hands, he needed help to eat, dress, and everything thing else, as you can imagine. Life in Haiti was always difficult, but now it was impossible for him to work and find food for himself and his two brothers. Jolissaint lives in Gonaives, Haiti with two brothers, Junior (11) and Andre (12 ).
After they could not afford the room they rented, the community worked together to build them a one room mud hut to live in which provides a roof over their head but limited protection in any type of storm. Jolissaint does not have food for all of them. Many days he goes without food and gives whatever he can to his brothers. Some days he walks one and a half hours to go to his therapist’s home where they provide him a daily meal with his family.
In October 2019, Jolissaint was invited to go to an Amputee Coalition event in Texas with another man with multiple limb amputations and their therapist. There he was gifted a dynamic arm prosthesis with a metal claw hand for each arm. He was taught to open and close the claws on each arm with different shoulder movements. With these new devices, he has been able to be more independent. He can now hold a cup to take a drink. He is able to use utensils better to eat. He is able to dress himself.
In December 2018, Community Rehab Project gave Jolissaint art supplies and basic training in how to paint. In the first day, he worked so hard and produced four amazing paintings! He was a natural!