In June we took a group of high school students (and one family) from Colorado to love on children at our new school in Haiti. Maddy S., a graduated senior, graciously shares her eye-opening experience below.
Going to Haiti was a very eye opening experience for me. I learned a lot about the Haitian culture, spiritual, relational, and material poverty, and above all else God’s love. It was amazing to go down there and get a glimpse of how people live. Even in the midst of all their troubles, they trust that God will always provide.
When we asked them what they thought of “white people’ when we come into their country, they just smiled and said that they know we are sent from God to help. They practice true religion, trusting in the Lord when it is the hardest.
Another thing that struck me was when we asked them what we could do to help them once back in the states. They replied, “Pray for us, ask God to continuously provide.” They didn’t ask for food or money, which is what they needed the most, they asked for our prayers, a very selfless act if you ask me.
After coming back to the United States and seeing how lucky we are to live in such an amazing country, with air conditioning, food, and running water that we can swallow from the tap if we want to, my family and I wanted to do something more to help even when we weren’t in Haiti. We met two girls, both restavek children (kids who live in another person’s home and cook and clean for the family in exchange for food and a place to sleep) who we felt the need to help.
The first, Michelle, a 17-year-old girl living with her aunt and just finishing 5th grade, was told that she would not be able to finish 6th grade because her aunt didn’t want her niece, the help, to be smarter than her own children. Our family sat down and talked about the idea of paying for her final year of elementary school, so she could take the national test, seeing if she would be qualified to move on to middle school. We decided that is what we wanted to do, and are helping her finish school this coming year.
The second girl, Naphtali, was so full of life and joy, that it would have been hard to tell that she was a restavek child. The second day we were at her school they had a talent show for us, and she was the first act. She danced. The look in her eyes, triggered something in my heart; she was full of life, beautiful, sassy, and a great dancer. Our family again talked to the translator and when we found out she was a restavek child, sat down and decided to sponsor her, giving a little money to VisionTrust every month to pay for her school supplies, clothes, food, and help the other kids in the school as well. This trip was overall amazing and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my last summer with my family before I go to college.