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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Reality in Haiti

Wissel Joseph in Haiti

Guest Post by Wissel Joseph, President of “Children for a New Haiti”

“Children and adults scavenge for recyclables and other usable items around a garbage truck at a dump on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.” That is a label of a picture below an article from NBC News titled “The poorest countries in the world.”

It was with sadness that I read the following statistics: “Poverty rate: 77% – Population: 10,123,787 – GDP: $7.35 billion (66th lowest) – GDP per capita: $726 (2nd lowest).  The World Bank notes that half of Haiti’s population lives on less than $1 a day. 80% lives on less than $2 a day. 40.6% are unemployed based on an estimate in 2010.”

Haiti is among the countries where health and healthy decisions are ignored. The average resident will not live to see 50. Less than half of the eligible children were enrolled in primary education (the equivalent of elementary and middle school).

We, at the “Children for a New Haiti” are trying to bring a  lifetime change especially in the remote area in Haiti. With a good staff, support from people like you and others, we are committed to making a difference where it matters.

This week, I was listening to an online radio station broadcasting from Haiti, two journalists comment how some children will stay inside their houses when school starts on October 1, for they do not want to see their friends next door going to school while they cannot. That broke my heart for I know that is the reality for I have seen it first hand. I have talked to parents of these little children and it is not easy to deal with their disappointment.

While I was growing up in Gonaives, I still remember how my mother would stay up late the night before the first day of school to sew my uniform. She could not get it ready earlier because she did not have the money to buy it. I have seen miracles happen where she would received a gift from people unexpectedly so that she could get us ready for the start of school.

Looking at it now, I feel blessed to be where I am, and I want to thank my mother, and those who helped her.  I am pleased to see my children growing up and especially for them to understand the concept of sharing and giving. I have seen them willingly give up their clothes and shoes for “the children in Haiti”.

Together we can make a difference, do not think too hard, get on board, call a friend or a family.  A little goes farther than you can imagine!