We arrived in Haiti on Mother’s Day weekend. Sunday during church they gave a gift to the oldest and youngest mother; very similar to that of American churches. The rest of the week we worked on building a house for a family, we visited orphanages, fed kids who either don’t have parents, their parents don’t want them or in many cases the parents just can’t provide for them.
Today however was the best of times and the worst of times. My two boys and I decided to pick a couple of kids from the village and bless them. By that I mean we bath them, feed them and send them home with a gift bag or love bundle. We picked Nixon and Jenlie. Both are exceptional kids, but Jenlie broke my soul. I took her into the shower and she loved it. I’m not sure when her last bath was, but she didn’t want to come out of the shower. Afterwards, she ate a peanut butter sandwich and a plate of rice. Then she ate half of Nixon’s sandwich and 2 glasses of water. Then we walked her home. Kids teased her, because she was clean, had on new clothes and shoes and had a bag of what they assumed was food. When she entered her home I heard a squeal from her aunt whom she lives with. I entered behind an interpreter and told her, “we did this because we love her and God loves you both.” It’s not what she said, but how she said it. The best way to describe it is this; imagine if Ed McMann just gave you a check for a million dollars. She cried, I cried, we all cried.
Flash forward 1 hour and our twins arrive with their mother. We anticipated seeing our sponsored kids all week, but were told we probably wouldn’t. Their father died in April and we couldn’t find them. He was their mode of transportation to and from school. He would bring them everyday on his motorcycle. With the help of an interpreter she told me this. She also said she was their only provider and didn’t know how she could keep them in school. She has 4 boys to care for. Fortunately the pastor of the kids’ school was at the mission and they talked about finding a school closer to where they lived or getting her to move back to where they were so the kids could start to walk to school. I promised to continue to sponsor them if she could find a way to get them to school. The twins played bouncy ball with my boys, then we gave them a ride home. 30 minutes and 10 miles later, she laid her hand on my shoulder and in her best English said, “thank you April.” The look in her eyes broke my heart. I cried.
I share all of this with you so I can say this: 18 years ago I gave birth to the first of two sons. As a parent, I want what is best for my kids. I can’t imagine the torment of not knowing how I was going to feed my kids or keep them in school. It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s that they can’t. We go home tomorrow. We go home forever changed; forever grateful.