This week, I was reminded of why I loved the program. This week, my task was to travel around Carrefour and visit all of the families that are part of Love Family Homes. I was tasked with checking on all of the families, especially the children, gathering information and assessing their well being. I asked each child questions like “are you ready for school” and “are you happy at home,” but at the same time, I was checking on the home itself. Were the walls sturdy? Did the children have beds to sleep on? Is the entire family living in one room? Are the homes far from the child's school? In more cases than one, this is the reality of our families and of many other families in Haiti.
Some of the homes were actually quite nice and families seemed well off, but it broke my heart to hear that most of the mothers are not working and they have no means of supplying necessities for their kids. When I got to the questions about school, not a single family was ready with school fees or supplies and materials. In Haiti, if a child does not have the necessary materials and uniform, they are punished and not allowed to return without them. In my personal opinion, it’s a very tough system. I don’t believe that anywhere that lacks education, or anywhere at all, should turn students away that are willing to learn. It isn’t their fault that their families can not afford the requirements.
Other than those families, I was able to speak to some young adults who have been “missing.” They have been missing in the sense that they voluntarily left the housing that was last documented and were living on the streets or amongst themselves, but unable to provide for themselves.
One gentleman is 22 years old and his story touches my heart. Until recently, he was living in the Love Community Home orphanage. Haiti is not like America where you’re finished with help at 18, but children can stay with their families and in orphanages far longer because they are unable to live comfortably otherwise. Anyways, he left the orphanage because at 22, he was unsatisfied following the rules for the children. He wanted to go out with friends, experience life and be 22 years old. That’s normal. However, life did not greet him as well as he thought it would.
For a while, he moved in with his father, but he found that his father is “wicked” and soon left because he was afraid to be in the house. He then went to live with a friend and her family which worked for a while, until the mother got sick and took her daughters to live far away in the country. The young man was left in the house by himself with no company, no food and no money. He oftentimes has no food and finds himself at the orphanage for meals and has no money to enroll in school. He is only in the 9th grade but can not afford the school fees. When I spoke to him and explained that we wanted to help him and figure out his next steps in life, he cried. We hugged. I let him know that we love him and want him to be well off. It was a very touching and passionate moment that I would have never received in the design world.
We spoke all about her life and living situation. She’s 18, living with a couple in a one bedroom house and has no way to provide for herself or help in the household. Sometimes they have food to eat and sometimes they do not. She has been sexually vulnerable and can not afford the medication that she needs to clear up an infection. She is not working, but she has dreams and goals. She explained to me that she does want to finish high school, but also, she has aspirations of attending school for tiling and ceramics. She was such a sweet girl and it made me sad to know that she was alone. I asked about her family and she said she doesn’t know most of them and has no contact with them. She has been in and out of places to live and has not progressed.
The next step is to figure out the best way to aid and to teach. It is also time to start looking at new candidates for Libellule Training Academy. There is so much work to be done and so many factors and lives to consider. I’m just glad I had the opportunity to do the ground work and to see for myself what needs to be done and opposed to somebody explaining to me afterwards. Some things you have to see first hand to truly develop an understanding and to form questions that will lead to the correct answers. I’m thankful for accomplishing so much this week and I’m excited to see what happens next.
We took a bus with Pastor Guy, Merline and 20 children to downtown Port au Prince. When we arrived, we had lunch and the kids got to play in the court yard. They were so happy. Each child was put into a group and got to go through the Awana training and afterwards, they all received bookbags and school supplies for the year. I have grown very accustomed to this group of children and seeing the smiles on their faces made a very tough week within the program seem incredibly worth it. We took pictures, we sang, we laughed and had a great time.
The Star of Hope Foundation was incredibly thankful for my work as I created all of the name badges, certificates, and signage for the conference. There some things I take for granted, and the thought that everybody knows how to use a computer is one of them. So I’m glad that while in Haiti, I am still able to use my design skills to benefit so many people. I always said that designing was not fun unless it helped. Here, I can say that I truly am helping.
I however, am incredibly impressed with how well the training went and how effective it is in the classroom training. To end the week, I traveled back to Cavaillon for the IC Cavaillon Ministry And watched Danou and Yndjy at work, teaching the songs. The kids went crazy and enjoyed every moment of the class. It’s been a week full of ups and downs, but I am content at how much has been accomplished.
Oh yeah, and speaking of accomplishments, Libellule Training Academy students have really been inspired by their trip to Papaillon. This week, we made over 100 beautifully crafted bracelets for women, men and children. As the manager, I put myself in charge of creating social media and contact accounts for the academy. To fully reach maximum selling potential and opportunity, I believe the academy needs to be able to allow people to find them and not just rely on the few contacts that they have to make selling work. So, stay tuned for more information on how you can support this initiative... and all of these wonderful initiatives. Thank you in advance.
Living and Learning...
features updates, sponsorship news, promotions, etc. that relate to the #IPLEDGEHOPE Campaign and my relocation to Haiti.