As I sit here staring at my large screen television and my enjoying my air conditioned home, my heart can't help but feel guilt and long for my children in Haiti. This is the longest I have ever gone without hearing their giggles and being smothered in their hugs and kisses. It is hard. I keep telling myself that I need to be home right now, I need to stay put, I need to think about what is best for my son and wait until he is vaccinated before visiting.. but that doesn't stop the longing. My heart physically hurts. There is not a minute that goes by that I don't wonder what they are doing, how they are doing, and when I will be able to see them again.
Thank goodness for smartphones and being able to communicate with staff members and my older children. It warms my heart to get voice messages through whatsapp or to receive photos of the little ones learning new things. Emilio has been sick lately with diarrhea but after a quick visit to the hospital and some antibiotics he is on the mend. Norens also has not been himself lately, he is getting severe headaches and is having trouble seeing. Norens constantly blinks. I had taken him to an American doctor in Haiti who examined his eyes, we were told that he could see perfectly clear. We were then referred to a neurologist who told us that Norens has a neurological problem that is causing his eyes to constantly blink. We were told that we could send him to the US to undergo a surgical procedure to try and correct it, however, after hearing that the procedure would come with many risks and learning that his condition was actually was not harming Norens in anyway, we decided to not pursue that route. Norens has been to the doctors again, and we are now waiting on more results.
The kids are all growing so much and getting so tall! We had friends recently visit the kids and check up on things and they were able to send me tons of photos :)
Fundraising has been tough lately. Since March when I gave birth to my son, it has been difficult for me to keep up with social media and hosting fundraising events. We have begun to fall behind on monthly expenses. We are needing more child sponsors, more monthly donors, more volunteers, more help fundraising.. the list goes on. Next month we will be opening up one of our board meetings to those who wish to learn more about Hime For Help and who have a desire to get involved with the work we do. We would like to create a strong team to help with implementing fundraising ideas and growing our organization. If you are interested in joining our committee please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!
Saturday, 9 April 2016
Not so long ago (four years to be exact) I was living in the countryside of Haiti, spending my nights rocking babies and writing blogs with hopes and dreams for the future.
Dreams of this crazy notion that maybe, just maybe, we could change even just one life, and give these children hope and a place where they could feel safe and loved.
At first, I had no clue what kind of responsibility I was taking on. Not only did I lack the funds to see this vision through, but I had never attempted to do ANYTHING of this magnitude ever before in my life. Despite all of the odds that were against me, and all of the obstacles that I knew would be ahead, there was a burning in my soul, something telling me that I needed to do this, and that if I simply walked away from these children, I would regret it for the rest of my life.
2012 began a journey that had no destination or end in sight. I knew that I was where I was meant to be at that moment in time, but I had no idea where we would end up or how things would play out. I didn't know how I would continue to care for these children that I had just committed to providing for. This was not what I had envisioned when I first came to Haiti. I never imagined myself doing this, I was never one who fantasized about starting a non-profit or a Children's Home, let alone in Haiti. This was not in my plans.
I was just someone who said 'yes'.
With that 'yes' have come many challenges and hardships along the way. I learned more lessons than I probably should have learned at the age of nineteen, but each lesson made me stronger and wiser. I was naive, but that quickly began to diminish overtime. Within the first few months I was exposed to corruption like I never could have imagined. I was taken advantage of more times than I can count, by both people in our community as well as government officials. It was discouraging and disheartening. There were so many nights when I cried myself to sleep telling myself that I was done, that I was going home, that I couldn't do this... but then each morning I would wake up to these beautiful smiling children who forced me to realize that I could not simply just give up on them. They depended on me now. How could I walk away from children who had already been let down so many times before? Not only by people close to them, but by their society and their government. How could I tell them that I wasn't strong enough to do this, when they were strong enough to survive through unimaginable struggles and trauma?... I couldn't. They had already won over my heart, and with every bone in my body, I knew I would fight to keep them together and to provide for them the best that I could.
Fast forward to four years later. We are no longer living in the countryside in a small tiny home with no electricity, appliances, or furniture. We have a nice large home in Port au Prince where we receive electricity occasionally, we have a fridge, stove, car, toy room, lots of bunk beds, furniture, our own desks, four bathrooms, an office, kitchen, table, and chairs! We no longer have just one nanny- we have multiple and we also have a nurse, cook, director, laundry ladies, janitor, security guard, social worker, etc. Our kids attend great schools and even go to dance class. Although we still struggle financially, and it is stressful trying to continuously fundraise, we make do with what we have. Sometimes you don't even realize how much has been accomplished until you step away, sit back and reflect on the years gone by. An overwhelming sensation just came over me thinking back to my first few months. I went to Haiti with $500 in the bank and with no clue how to run a non-profit, let alone a home full of children! I could not have made it through without the support of so many generous people around the world. So many people, people who I had never even met, contacted me on social media, donated money, sent words of encouragement, came to visit me and the kids, shared our story, and gave me reassurance that I could do this...YOU gave me the strength to keep going in my greatest moments of weakness. I am so fortunate and so blessed to know so many incredible people. I am forever grateful for each and every supporter that we have had over the years.
Now, also four years later, instead of being in Haiti and rocking one of the babies in our home to sleep, I am back in Canada in my own home, rocking my newborn son to sleep. These four years have been the best four years of my life. So much has happened, so much is still happening, and I can't wait to sit back and reflect in another four years from now. I can only hope that we can continue to improve the conditions in our home and continue to provide our children with more and more opportunities. They are the future of Haiti. They are going to "be the change".