She looked like she was ready for the firing squad but I only wanted a picture.
How I wished that I knew the Creole language so I could maybe sit with her on the porch and listen to her story and maybe understand why she chose to strike this unusual pose for a woman who gave me permission to take her picture.
I can only assume the hard life she may have led and now it was even harder because she no longer had a husband to help her raise her children. Other factors also came into play. Food was scarce and not knowing where to turn for the next meal can make one feel bitter and unloved. School was out of the question for her children.
But we came with good news! My friend, Pattie, was led by a tender heart to send money to me with the expressed wish that I help a child in Haiti when we arrived. Not knowing how we might help a child, we still knew it would be an easy task. There are many children in Haiti that need help.
Wissel constantly reminded me of Pattie’s money as we traveled back and forth on the dusty roads of Dos-Palais. We talked often of how the money could be spent. How much of the money would be needed to help a family. What could be done with the money by the family. Everything was considered.
Finally it was decided that there was money enough to help two families with their most immediate need -food- and there would be enough left over that they could invest in something that would provide a continued supply of food for the future. For Haiti, a goat or some chickens would allow a family to sell the increase then put food on the table at home.
With happy hearts, we shared our good news and the money with Mrs. Joly. What a thrill to see the relief and happiness by the family. I felt the heart of a woman touched by a stranger’s gift when I hugged her before we left. That moment’s hesitation before parting said it all to me. It said “Thank you, Pattie”.
But then we had another gift yet to give. So with happy hearts we walked further down the rocky road to the Anger’s house.
It was in a half finished structure that we found Mr. Anger sitting on a chair. I touched his knee so that he knew I was friendly and said “hello”, he quickly reached out for a handshake. Mr. Anger has been blind for 15 years. He started the house but because he lost his sight, he never finished it. Soon we were joined by the family because visitors were rare in this little town.
Again I asked his wife, Mrs. Anger if I could take her picture and what a contrast I saw through my lens. A beautiful woman full of optimism and hope even though she did not know the reason for our visit.
We found out that she and the family had exhausted their credit with the vendors in town so now they had nowhere to turn to for food. They scavenged what they could from the trees around them but it was not enough to fill the tummies of the children.
Again, we offered the same amount to them with suggestions on how to spend the money. Immediate needs first and then invest in something to provide food for the future. We told each family that Cherubin (our CNH Representative in Haiti) would be by later in the week to help them purchase things or animals with their money as their investment for the future. He would help them get set up and have a workable plan.
Hugs all around and much joy was expressed by the family. Later we saw them at the Open Enrollment for school sponsorships and learned that she paid all those who gave her food on credit and the kids had “newer” shoes on their feet.
What a difference Pattie’s gift made in the lives of 12 people in Haiti. It not only provided desperately needed food but it also put the families in a position to feed themselves in the future.
An added bonus is that the children participated in the Open Enrollment process in hopes of attending school. A good education will uplift them even more.
And all this, food, possible education opportunities for the kids and hope, because Pattie cared enough to help “just one”
Please help us put these beautiful children in school. It takes so little from you and me but it means so much to them. An education helps to lift them out of poverty. And as we look into the future we see the benefits of those we educate in this little town. Benefits like increased educational opportunities and better services for the town because of improvements in the standard of living.
What investment can you think of that will have this much return? A child’s future hangs in the balance; a life of poverty or a good education and hope for a brighter future. You can be the change factor. All this, education and hope, because you cared enough to help “just one”!