Tuesday, August 30, 2011

School Registration

     He was sitting very straight in the chair before the registrar's desk.  His white baseball cap was balanced on his head.  Behind him stood a man in an identical white cap, watching proudly as  his son was assigned to the next level, secondary school!  To get to this point, the boy had to pass the national exam required for all 6th graders.
     Seeing him before the registrar's desk was the first sign that I had that he had passed.  I asked him, "Did you pass, Olandy?"  He grinned shyly and nodded his head.  His father nodded his head, too.  I don't know all the 1,000 plus students enrolled in our school, but this young man, I did.  He has been in our sponsorship program since preschool and I was thrilled to see him make this progress.  Besides the generous donor who's sent in $30/month to help this student, the other reason was probably the presence of his father today and in his life.  Just putting funds in a situation may or may not really help.  If the families don't stay involved and feel responsible for their children and hold the kid's accountable, there is little chance the kids will be successful.
     As I spent the morning getting the 6th grade results to give to their sponsors, I was pleased that most of them did pass this first major test.  There was one surprise with a young girl who didn't pass.  The elementary principal and her teacher were bemoaning the fact that they hadn't realized how her home life had deteriorated and she was probably hungry and lacking other basic things.  Even though we provide one hot meal a day for the students, it's not enough to survive.  We agreed we'd try to give her a little coupon to use at the school cantine to cover some breakfast/snacks, etc.   I wrote and told her sponsor a bit about her situation, encouraging them to pray.  Hopefully, with some extra attention, we can give her the support she needs to get ahead.
       By sharing this, I'm giving you a view of the realities we're facing, some successes, and some set backs. I've learned to enjoy every success, and today it was seeing  my friend registering for the 7th grade!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Foreign driver's license

     When I first moved to Haiti about 18 years ago, I went in to apply for a driver's license and was issued one that was valid for 6 months. Then the governments kept changing about that often so I just stopped applying.
      This past year, I was stopped at a local check point because the new police were trying to crack down on children driving motorcycles (yes, really). I told them I didn't carry my US license b/c no one had asked me for it in 16 years. Trying to big big shots, they told me they could take me into the jail for that and I smiled and said okay. (if they had it would have a riot, literally). Ironically, I found out that at the same time they were bugging me, the resident foreigner in town, their boss was calling my husband asking for help in furnishing their police station.  We had previously helped them out by providing bicycles and an outhouse.   It would have been a funny exchange if they had arrested me on the same day.  I almost wished the new guys had just to see them explalin they arrested their benefactor's wife on a traffic violation.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mission Trips in Haiti

There was a fund raising plea made after the usual offering.  The pastor stood up and told the congregation that there had been 65 conversions in last week's outreach and the leadership wanted to take another group to a nearby area.  The location?  A neighborhood called Terre Rouge near a community of Pignon, Haiti.  The mission team would be made up of 15 people, maybe more if they could raise the funds who had already been trained with how to share the Bible.
They would arrive at the designated locale, set up beds in tents, and be responsible for making their own meals.  Due to the shortage of drinking water in the area, they would be carrying some water in and boiling other water to use between services and outreaches.  The total amount of funds raised?  $50 USD.
Was the outreach canceled due to lack of support?
No, the Haitian believers joyfully picked up their loads of supplies and walked the 5 miles under scorching sun.  Why were they happy?  Because they had seen God's provision for them to eat that week.  I saw them walking home later in the week in two rows singing hymns.  They were thrilled to report that 30 more people had made professions of faith.  All of them would have gone back in a heart beat.