The one-and-a-half years of the Guinard family's journey covered in the previous two diaries (part 1, part 2) was full of both ups and downs, but seemed to be skewing more towards the downs. At the conclusion of the last entry, Jean, the father, was seriously ill, but the family's sizeable debt prevented him from getting treatment. With their health fading, I hoped the rest of the family could earn enough to repay the debt and buy food -- if not pay for medical treatment.
The end of the road
The community centre opened, and the family managed to climb out of debt, but all of this came too late for Jean. He died from cholera, leaving Marie to raise Jacquline, Patrick, and Yves alone. To make matters worse, all four of them were sick. I needed to figure out a way to get everyone serious medical treatment for the measly 138 goud at their disposal.
I'm no miracle worker, so things didn't look good. I gambled on a home remedy helping to stave off disease, then sent them all to a clinic for illness. Unsurprisingly, money ran out well before the season ended. Marie was sent home, while the others remained at the clinic -- presumably because no-one will refuse treatment to a child if they can avoid it.
The second year ended with the family clinging to hope by a bare thread. Debt had spiralled to 465 goud. Yves, Patrick, and Jacquline were no longer sick, but all were in poor health nonetheless. Marie's chances of survival were pretty grim, with her illness compounded by a rating of 0 happiness.
Jacquline, the healthiest of the group, went to work on the family farm, where she rapidly deteriorated. Trying to fight her way through a cold, she got bloody diarrhoea, then died from cholera when she returned home. Toeing the line, Patrick reduced the debt to 306 goud, but got a cold and vitamin deficiency in the process.
All three -- Patrick, Marie, and Yves -- struggled on for two more seasons, with both boys contracting cholera. Marie died shortly after Christmas. Now orphans in desperate need of medical attention, Patrick and Yves held little chance of survival. But that will remain a mystery, since the game ended there -- if both parents die, you lose.
If at first you don't succeed
Feeling awfully depressed that I could do nothing to save even one of the family members, I took a moment to think about just how firmly the odds were stacked against them. Living so close to the edge, it seems to take just one mistake or misfortune to leave the entire family standing on the brink of collapse. I thought it would all work out, but I overestimated how much work the family could accomplish in poor conditions before succumbing to illness.
Thankfully, being a game, I had the opportunity to undo my mistakes. So I started again, hoping that this time I wouldn't let the family down.
The lack of education caused problems in the previous play-through, since the family could only work the tough low-paying jobs, so I decided to place greater emphasis on education. I also aimed for the more expensive "Good Living" conditions, in hopes that it would enable the family to work harder for less of a health impact. To pay for that education and better living, though, I needed to bring in more money. (And to bring in more money, I needed someone with more education -- it's a vicious cycle.)
I had heard that the women could work as secretaries if given enough education, so I made that the initial target. Marie went off to Vocational School, while Jacquline drew the short straw and signed on as a market woman. I sent both boys to work: Patrick as a farm hand and Yves as a labourer on the family farm. Jean took one for the team and became a rum distiller. I bought books so that everyone would gain a little education.
It worked out well. The family's savings rose from the initial 300 goud (minus 50 for the books) to 586. Marie's education level rose to 2. All set to continue as before, I entered the second season hoping that she will soon have enough education to become a secretary.