Ever since she was a little girl, Germaine Fils-Aime, now 31, dreamed of driving one of the big construction machines. But, she was only able to study pastry making and soon was married and had two children.
It was actually Germaine’s husband who heard of the program to train heavy machinery operators and told her about it. This program was set up through a partnership between Haytrack, Caterpillar’s authorized dealer in Haiti, and CHF International which with USAID funds was implementing workforce development programs in Haiti.
“My husband told me about the initiative and encouraged me to take the course,” said Germaine. Her family was also very encouraging.
“The day I got the entry exam results and I saw that I succeed I was so happy and proud. Most women study things like secretarial jobs but I wanted to make a difference and learn how to pilot one of these heavy machineries,” explains Germaine.
Roselette Dupervil, 23, had dreamed of becoming a civil engineer but never had the opportunity to study this. When she heard about the Haytrack-CHF training she decided to join since it was in the same domain.
Roselette says that her male colleagues accepted the female trainees and anyway “the women were much more intelligent than the men in the course,” she says smiling.
Both Germaine and Roselette are now operating heavy machinery for construction companies in Haiti. Both are the only female operators where they work. “My colleagues respect my work and appreciate and respect me a lot especially since I am the only female on the team,” says Roselette.
“I am the only female working in the heavy machinery,” says Germaine, “the other women work in more feminine sections of the company.”
Both Germaine’s and Roselette’s family are proud of their work. “My husband shows off about his wife being an operator,” says Germaine laughing.
“I love being on my engine and working,” says Roselette. “What I love most is land boring to make roads, making the openings. I get a great feeling of satisfaction when they give me a plan to go bore a way through the foot of a mountain,” nods Roselette. “It is difficult work with a mountain that has a lot of cliffs, but one has to do it.”
“What I love,” says Germaine, “is when I’m at a worksite and I have to fill up all the trucks that line up. You know, all the boys look at me doing a truly professional job and I love that a lot.”
“I would be extremely proud to see my daughter enter the same profession as me,” adds Germaine speaking of her seven-year old daughter. She thinks that more women should enter this profession and thus, “prove that they can work as hard as any man.” Looking at her daughter, Germaine says, “I am sure she will be successful – but of course,” she adds, “it is up to her to decide what she wants to be in the future.”
“I still dream of becoming a civil engineer,” says Roselette. “But I adore this work and I now dream of becoming the best operator and being a professional that works with all her heart.”