Robenson, who is the director of Kenscoff school said to me yesterday, that the reason he believes in education so deeply is because, as he tapped his head “this is all I have, and with it I can change my life and help others. If I can educate 200 children and they each help even 10 children themsleves that will still make a difference and something like that, can change Haiti”.
This morning Kingsley one of the medical students who participates in our medical trips and works at the General Hospital was talking to me about Haiti and how the reason I come here and work so hard, must be that I want everyone to be healthy. We began to talk about what Haiti would be like if everyone was healthy and had enough to eat and clean water to drink. It was a wonderful vision.
Yesterday we met with a boy who lost his foot during the earthquake, his mother gave birth to his sister as they lay in the yard of the hospital waiting for help, in the days after the earthquake. Yesterday, I was there, to check on the family for my friend Shellie, who found them there in the hospital yard, last January and has been helping them since.
We met on the street in Petionville. He is a shy young man, I asked a few questions about his family and his health but got quickly to point, money. How much does it cost him to go to school? How much for his English lessons? How about his sisters tuition? How does his mother support him? He looked away from us as he answered. It is hard for me to be a stranger asking so many personal questions of someone I have never met before.
Sionfonds programs are administered by Haitians so people receiving services from us do not have to be questioned by someone like me who has never lived a life like theirs, who does not know what it is to live in a tiny shelter without any income, praying that someone will think of them and send them some money so they can eat.
Even though we were all uncomfortable, I keep asking questions, nonchalantly acting like I have a right to know his situation and maybe I do have at least a good reason, because if I don’t find out what his family’s needs are I won’t be able to report them to Shellie.
I came to check on his education but have found something else, the family is not eating except when the someone sends money or gives them food. Shellie has paid for the two older children go to school and sent packages down to them, the shoes and shirt he is wearing are from Shellie.
As we talk and I ask the same question in a variety of ways, it becomes clear that they are not eating everyday.
The thing is that is hard, is that in Haiti many people do not eat every day. When a family in the neighborhood does have food they share with their neighbors because who knows who will be hungry next and be in need of the generosity of others.
Trying to wrap this post up in a neat little package is escaping me, but I know the pieces are here.
What is clear is that really, all any of us has, is what we carry in our heads and hearts and what we do with that.