Foremost, I wish to say thank you.
Thank you for your work and devotion to the children of Haiti. I am a firsthand witness to how your organization has touched lives and offered a brighter future to the impoverished children of rural Haiti.
Thank you for the confidence you have placed in me by giving me the opportunity to live and work in a country so radically unlike my home. While in Haiti, I have met the extremity of human poverty, but also our capacity for kindness, charity, and hope for a brighter future. I have learned a new language, been immersed in a foreign culture, and made aware what lies beyond the borders of the developed world but within the experience of being human.
Thank you for making stories like this possible:
On my first trip with the Center of Hope Haiti in 2007, I became friends with a boy at the COHH construction site. Or rather, we became tree-shade partners, as several times we sat together under the same mango tree. He appeared to be about thirteen-years-old, and was dressed in stained and ragged shorts and shirt without any shoes.
At first we just sat together quietly, for at this time I spoke very little Creole, but later he began teaching me some Creole words; butterfly, caterpillar, ant, so on. He spoke softly, and his demeanor projected a kind spirit. When we were not speaking, he just stared silently at the mountains and Haitian countryside.
On my last day, I asked him about his schooling. His voice became nearly mute and was tinted with a frustrated pain. He wanted to go, but had no means, and it would not be possible for him. We sat a bit longer, and then it was time for me to go. I remember thinking about all the places I would be in a week, a month, a year. Of all the opportunities and security that were present in my future. I left him there, sitting in the same spot, watching the mountains.
One week ago, I was again in Hinche, Haiti. We had just finished the COHH summer school, and Wisny and I were now visiting the houses of the participants to confirm these children for the incoming 1st grade class. We had nearly finished for the day and were headed in the direction of the COHH site when a young man called out to us that he had a younger brother for our school. I explained in Creole that we were not looking for new kids on this particular walk, and we continued on our way. After a few more steps, I suddenly realized who this young man was.
We doubled back. The boy I left watching the mountains was now several inches taller than myself, and presented to us his younger brother, Djob. After reviewing Djob’s papers, I asked if the boy had had the chance to go to pre-school. The young man replied no, but that he was giving his younger brother lessons, at which point Djob fired out “1,2,3,4… 20.”
We had exactly one opening left for the coming class, and after a short interview we set up a time for them to come officially register Djob at the school with his guardian.
The boy I met under the mango tree years ago thanked us profusely, and set to work giving his younger brother additional lessons to prepare him for the coming school year.
To the Board of Directors of the Center of Hope Haiti,
Thank you for giving this child the opportunity of a brighter future.
August 4th, 2012