This Little Light of Mine

"To whom much is given, much is required"


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“Even the Least of These” are Precious

Child selling goods on the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Child selling goods on the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Note:  This story comes from Wissel Joseph, Founder and President, “Children for a New Haiti”.  It is the mission of CNH to provide an education, food and medical care for the children of Dos-Palais, Haiti.  Your inquiries and help with this important task is welcome.

The rain was relentless. It came down in heavy sheets defying anyone to try and stay dry. I huddled with my brother, Jerry, in the back of the tarp covered pickup truck as we waited for more passengers who were preparing like us to head to  Port-au-Prince. Even with the tarp, we were still getting wet.

The streets of Lascahobas were deserted so it was alarming to see one very wet little girl hesitantly approach us. Her hair was matted by the rain and her clothes hung on her thin frame offering very little protection. I could plainly see how thin she was.

“Please, would you like to buy a pitcher?” In her eyes, I could see the pain, desperation and despair that living with so little provided her as well as many of the people of Haiti. In reply I asked how old she was and like a knife to my heart, she replied “10”. That is the age of my own daughter and the scene played again in my mind but with my daughter, Wishie’s face. I could not imagine that I could be so desperate that I would insist that my children not come home until the last pitcher was sold, even in the heavy rain.

With a compassionate heart I reached into my pocket for the last remaining dollars, actually a fist full of $2 bills that a Columbia, MO sponsor gave me to give out to those I came across that needed a hand up. I thrust them into her hands, she smiled and began to walk away. But then she stopped, turned and asked “How much is this in Haitian money?” It came to about $20.00US and my brother, Jerry was quick to convert the amount into Haitian Gourdes for her.

Life is difficult for most people in Haiti. For some it is unbearably difficult with some mothers and children who beg for scraps to survive even to the point of death. It makes my heart ache knowing that I could have been like that little girl because I, too, am Haitian. I wish I could have had the chance to ask her name or even visit her family. I cannot get over my connection with this little girl, she tears at my heart.

Although I may never see her again, I will continue to look for her on my next trip. I hope and pray I will have a second chance to make a difference in her life. But if not, her face will ever be before me as I seek to serve those less fortunate.

There are many in Haiti that live the life of poverty. Educating the children can make such a huge difference in breaking that cycle. Won’t you join me in making sure that “even the least of these” have a chance for a better life.


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Grandpa’s Hands

"Grandpa's Hands" Richard Smith, Artist

“Grandpa’s Hands”
Richard Smith, Artist

 

Ever wonder if people in impoverished countries feel the same hurts and emotions that we do? I see the anguish on TV of those suffering in other countries but then I sometimes brush it off as: “Well, they deal with that all the time so they know what to expect.” Very callous of me, isn’t it!

Visiting other countries gives me that personal contact that lets me see that the same blood flows through their veins and their hearts break just as much as mine and no matter how often life treats them badly, the feelings and emotions are the same as mine. I may not understand their language and customs enough to realize how deeply they feel in their hearts but personal witness breaks down the barriers.

One of my favorite moments of learning to see with new eyes occurred during my last trip to Haiti. Exciting things were happening in back of Grandpa’s house and everyone wanted to watch as the bulls pulled the plow through the ground in preparation for a new vegetable garden. We all watched the progress with excitement.

Off to the side sat Grandpa with baby Jefferson. His tender work worn hands rested lightly upon the grandchild entrusted in his care. It was a casual touch but reassuring to the child that he was safe and warned at the same time to not move closer to the action. The emotion prompted me to lift my camera.

Later, I shared my picture with my brother-in-law, Dick. Dick is a painter and the emotion portrayed by grandpa’s hands also caught his eye and he began to sketch. Oil paints were arranged on his pallet and he began to, and continued to, apply the paint to the canvas even after my visit ended and I headed back to the Mid-West.

Several weeks later, I received the painting in the mail. Grandpa’s Hands! In looking at the painting, all the memories I experienced in that moment rushed back. The sound of the plow churning through the field, the soft lilting voices lifted in laughter and conversation all around me. Hopeful looks towards the new vegetable garden for the coming season. And the kind, caring hands of a man so much like you and me.

The people of Haiti live and love as we do, with open hearts and courage in the face of huge challenges, and while our customs differ, our hearts all care the same, our hopes for better futures remain fixed firmly on our children. No, in the end we aren’t all that different and that knowledge makes me cherish the love and laughter of our lives even more.