A week with my kids in Haiti

If you've been following me on social media for long enough now, you already know I travel every now and then to Haiti for some non-profit work. I don't talk too much of what I do there because I don't like to make it sound like I'm gloating, or looking for people to admire me for doing -what is mostly clerical- charity work.

But, recently, I've had a change of heart. After hurricane Maria's passing through Puerto Rico, I've met and worked along with many persons who told me the same thing: "I've always wanted to do something to make the world a better place, but I never found how". So maybe, I thought, I should talk about what we do, in hopes that someone else is interested in working with us!

Why Haiti?

After the big earthquake in 2010, I started working on the fundraising team of a Puertorican non-profit organization that funded clean water projects in Haiti. As part of this group, I traveled to Haiti and built an amazing network of passionate people working on charity efforts both in Haiti and in Puerto Rico. One of those incredible persons was Nanishka Morales, which would eventually become Founder and CEO of Giving Life, Inc.

 

Giving Life International

Giving Life is another Puertorican charity organization focused on helping kids on disadvantaged communities reach a better future. Two years after Giving Life was founded, on 2014, Nanishka called me and asked whether I'd be available to join her and a small group on a missions trip to Haiti for getting ready and kid-proofing their first orphanage in Port-au-Prince. I said yes to what I thought would be a favor I'd be doing to her, and embarked on what was, or at least I thought so, my last trip to Haiti.

Jireh Kai d'Amou

Three days after prepping the orphanage, on April 23rd, 2014, we set out into the mountains to meet and rescue the first group of 15 abandoned kids. Of those 15, only eight arrived. Ages 1.5 to 13 years old, most of them arrived at the meeting point by themselves, their only belongings, being what they were wearing. They were sick, malnourished, scared, and none of them had ever gone to school. It was a heartbreaking scene that changed my life forever, and obviously renewed my commitment to Haiti.

Their first morning with us. Left to right: Rosemerline, Edline, Emmanuel, Benita, Beana, Widnol, Manoucheka, Daniel.

Four years later now, I'm a very proud auntie to these INCREDIBLE 8 kids. All, except the youngest one, Emmanuel, know how to read and write, they're all grown up, most of them are bilingual, and they are just the happiest kids ever. I only see them once a year and my biggest fear is that they forget me the next time they visit, but all of those fears fade away as they jump on me right when I walk the door.

We now live in the countryside town of Arcahaie, where we rent a solar-powered 3-bed/2-bath house for the kids. They all go to a local private school, and they receive tutorship after class to help them with the homework. They are cared for by two great ladies, Marielle and Widlyn, and there's also nighttime security. They go to church on Sundays, play on the afternoons, help and love each other, and live a life as simple and normal as we can dream for them.

 

So by the beginning of March, I did a surprise visit all by myself, to check upon the status of the orphanage, work on some administrative stuff, and of course to give a LOT of love to the kids that own the biggest chunk of my heart. In this trip, I ended up being at home more than any other trip I've ever done, so I got to experience what a day is like at Jireh Kai d'Amou. At the end of this post, there's a collection of lifestyle photos of the kids in the house.

Sponsorship Program

There is much need for growth, not only because the kids are growing up fast, but because we need to rescue more kids from the streets. This project is completely funded by individuals that sponsor a kid with a monthly donation of $20. All proceeds from sponsorships go directly and strictly to running the operations on Haiti from the orphanage, and it is how we provide nutrition, healthcare, education, and safety to our children.

You can read more about the kids (and the project), here:
English: http://bit.ly/Sponsor-GL
Spanish: http://bit.ly/Apadrina-GL

And you can register as a sponsor here:
http://bit.ly/apadrina-haiti

 

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