The Face of Haiti

The news has been dominated in the past week with Haiti. It’s hard to wrap my mind around what’s happened there. I feel bad when I hear about one person dying. Ten people? Hard to imagine. A hundred people? Thousands? My mind can’t even comprehend that.

Fortunately, our family can see the face of Haiti easily.

Her name is Bernadine. We began sponsoring Bernadine around 6 years ago, when my oldest daughter was in first grade. The daughter of Caroline’s teacher had just graduated as a teacher, and was spending a year teaching in Haiti at the Mission of Hope, an orphanage and school for 1,200 children near Port Au Prince. The daughter had given her mom profiles of several children needing sponsors, and we chose Bernadine.

Since then, we’ve loved hearing from her through cards and letters (Haitians speak French and Creole, so staff at the school would translate these). Our church and another local church have gotten involved with the school and orphanage as well, sending teams there to work over the years. Once we were able to send a box of goodies for Bernadine (including a doll and hair clips, which she was said to love).

Thankfully, the Mission of Hope survived the quake intact, despite its proximity to Port Au Prince. But still, Bernadine gives us a face to put with all the suffering thousands.

When I donate, I like to know that the place I give to will be able to make good use of my funds to help others. (I think there must be a special spot in hell reserved for the corrupt thugs that apparently lead Haiti, squirreling away much donated money and goods for their own profit).

I think that Mission of Hope would be an excellent choice for giving to the Haitian people, since they are already situated in Haiti, close to the destruction. I have heard that thousands are fleeing Port Au Prince into the countryside, and I imagine many of them might show up at a nearby orphanage.

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