Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but it’s not because they’re lazy, it’s because there is a lack of opportunity and infrastructure. Matter of fact, I’ve met the hardest working people in Haiti. Mothers who live off of coffee to carve their appetite so their kids can have a bite of rice. Fathers who leave their families to find jobs anywhere they can. Four-year-olds carrying around their two-year-old sibling, because they were taught at a young age to take care of each other. These Haitians do not back down without a fight, but a lack of opportunities equals a lack of hope.
Education in Haiti is not free. Parents have to choose between feeding their kids, or sending them to school. Siblings have to take turns going to school each year because parents can only afford to send one child to school at a time. They want their children to get an education for a better future, but they practically can’t. To get a job, you need an education, to get an education you need money, but to get money you need a job. The cycle continues over and over again, and it will never break unless they are given opportunity. Unless they are given hope.
Winston Bui has lead 36 different teams to Haiti. At each trip the teams invest in the same village called Fond Doux, Haiti. Not many people have heard of this unknown village deep in the mountains of Haiti. This village is full of thousands of people.. people with hard lives, real struggles and powerful stories, people we have seen grow from a child to a man who now gives back to his community. We invested in his life, so he in return wants to invest in the lives of his people. - We invest in a children’s home in this village, where we currently send over 50 kids to school. We have educated nurses, who serve their community by providing a free Healthy Pregnancy clinic. Educating and providing nutritional supplements to expectant mothers so that they can have a healthy pregnancy. We have invested in building solid homes for families who call home a hut made of tarps. We’ve delivered food to families who haven’t eaten the last two days. We have started up businesses for single mothers so that she can have a sustainable income to provide food and an education for her children. The list of seeds planted can go on and on, and the harvest has been plentiful.
So why do we keep going back? Because the fight is not over yet. Watialine and Obnerline still sleep in the dirt. David just finished college because of our scholarship program, but he still needs someone to invest in his visions of his business. There are many other kids lining up begging for an opportunity for an education. But most of all, because we love these people. We have relationships with these Haitians, and we want to make life better for them as they make life better for others. These trips aren’t a one time deal where we come in, give them money and leave. We want to provide a lasting impact so that Haiti can be in the hands of Haitians.
“Men anpil, chay pa lou,” meaning many hands make the load light. The more hands, the bigger the impact and the more we make life better for the people we love, giving them the opportunity for a future that seems impossible. Merci anpil!
The author Ku'uipo is involved with Chi Alpha UCLA ministries, and with Elisha C. a company based in LA that sells Haitian-made product. Be sure to check out the AMAZING product at Elisha C.