I met a young man named Kendet years ago. He was a third-grader at the time. He was living with a family that I visited often. At some point, that family asked him to leave. It happens that way about 80% of the time in Haiti. Families will gladly help a little boy, but are not interested in helping the boy when he turns into a teenager.
Kendet called me around Christmas time. He then came from the city of Cayes to my place for a visit. He has finished school and is a leader in his church. He was planning a youth camp for the Mardis Gras vacation. It worked out for his youth group to spend their days in the National School of Flammands…about 2 miles west of my house. Kendet invited me to present a two-hour session for the youth campers. I enjoy the chance to meet Haitian kids from other areas, and I have learned a few ways to capture their attention. I think the session went pretty well.
The questions that they had for me after the session showed some clever thinking. They had heard the subject I presented and were working to tackle it, each in his/her own way. City kids often have serious advantages over rural kids here in Haiti...better teachers, more equipment in the classroom, and parents who are more educated. I had them work in groups to answer a few questions. Their answers were all good.
After I taught, the young men in the group hosted me in their room. It was a just a classroom…with benches and blackboards. However, they had transformed it. Each time this youth group goes to a camp, the girl’s room and the guy’s room are involved in a competition for the neatness and attractiveness of their sleeping quarters. These young men did what most Haitian people do when sleeping away from home : They brought bed coverings (like you’d find on a bed in a hotel), and they used them as their mattress on the cement floor. BUT, in the morning, they used those same quilts to cover the school benches. It was amazing! They looked like upholstered furniture. I couldn’t help but be impressed with their creativity, their cooperation, their planning, their ingenuity, and their attention to detail. It was like I had stepped into a hotel lobby.
People are amazing. I love working here in Haiti. The potential that people have is remarkable. It encourages me every time I meet new people and learn to know them. God has made a wonderful world. I wish everyone would see more of the world than their own little space.
Missionary in Haiti.