I am literally moments away from starting my orientation week for my online graduate school (MA in International Community Development and worldview), so I have been pondering this week especially. There is a certain legitimacy people like myself seek when traveling and meeting people who don’t know you- you wonder if you really are making a difference, if you really are a part of something that works…you wonder if you’re proud of the work you’re a part of internationally. For me, this has meant hours spent looking over our photos from the past year, most from just this summer. I am actually overwhelmed at some of the scenes I see photographed. I am sad to remember where some of these children come from and elated to see the work being done by our amazing staff and partners.
Imagine you are a child again. (Or, maybe you are still a child reading this ;)). There are so many ways we are brought up in the human race, but all I can think of is what the children in our community, in our village are faced with every day. This summer, before our month long camp began, we did a clinic for all of the children and my heart was truly broken in a new way for these kiddos. So many of them wandered into our make-shift clinic to complain of tummy aches from not eating for a day or two, bruises from a sad home life and cavities and infections left untreated due to lack of good medical care. One child hit especially close to home, and we are actually hoping to get her to the states for further evaluation.
Looking back, I am grateful for these clinics and seeing these children in such a saddened light, because the next week (and weeks following that), I had the opportunity to see these children morph into what I imagined childhood to be- fun. Our kids experienced art class (many for the first time), puppet shows (which went off with a bang!), English class, dancing and joking with their friends, a hot meal every day and consistent, loving care.
This may seem like nothing to you- your basic YMCA day camp maybe- but to these kids it was truly magic. It was nothing short of a miracle. God worked in deep, meaningful ways. You see, a typical childhood in Haiti is not the same as it was for me. I didn’t have to collect water every day, sleep in a shack without adequate roofing or bedding, wonder what I was going to eat every day or feel like I am burden- in the way of the adults in my life. What I experienced was fun, love, escape when needed and consistent food/shelter/water/care. Imagine walking into our gates as a child experiencing such difficulty and hearing fun music, seeing the same loving faces every day, eating a snack and a warm meal, playing sports, hearing about love and experiencing it first hand. Would it change you?
We are really so thankful for those who came to work so hard in the heat this summer with us, as well as for our incredible staff. Also, thank you to those of you who have signed up to sponsor a child and continue to champion our orphan prevention projects in Haiti. We are gearing up for an incredible fall, where we will begin teaching music and ESL, as well as the traditional after school program. We are running a school supply drive NOW and will also be accepting donations to help send 30 children to school who would normally not afford it. We can’t do this without your help!
We are thankful and excited to announce that we will be hosting a silent auction and dinner event at Manci’s Antique Club in Daphne September 10th at 6pm. $25 at the door gets you food, music by the wonderful Marlow Boys and access to the Silent Auction! Please consider coming, donating and getting involved. Together, we can all make small ripples that can make a wave of a difference to our small and underprivileged community in Haiti.