Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Youth Power, Ayiti

Many friends and family helped chip in toward balls and pumps for the kids here in Haiti. This is a group of kids at a World Vision ADP center in Hinche. I spent the afternoon prior to these pics with the kids reading Hope for Haiti and discussing everything from schools and prisons, to the early history of Haiti. I asked the kids to help me tell kids in the US about Haiti and they did a great job of relating information they thought would be important for them to hear.

When we were finished, I asked if they would like to come back in the morning and play soccer with me. They all showed up right at 9, and we passed out the balls you guys helped me bring. They were so excited, but I was sad I only had a limited amount. Because, of course, that next morning, instead of just 20 or 30 kids showing up, the word had gotten out and there were at least a hundred. But, some of the kids from the previous group helped me distribute the balls so that kids in different neighborhoods could share the balls. That way it would reach the greatest number of kids. I really was impressed by the unselfishness that many of these kids displayed, even though I could see in their eyes they wanted their own ball.

I had a blast playing soccer with these guys. There are some amazing little soccer players in Hinche!

Later in the week, Bryn had set up some visits for me in Port au Prince. Here I am reading the book to a bunch of awesome kiddos who live at a place called Angels of Light. This is a compound with health care and education as well as housing for hundreds of at risk kids, many of whom are orphans.

The interpreter would translate and then quiz the kids, asking what they had just read.

I asked the children for help, because I am not Haitian and because if I was to go speak with kids in the US, I would need them to tell me what kinds of things to share. Some kids were shy but a few had some ideas of what I could tell the American kids.

After this group, I went to another group of older students to do a reading and discuss Haiti with them. This is the director of the camp.

Empty containers are lined end to end to create a protective encampment around the center. A guard stands watch 24 hours a day, and inside the kids are given lots of love and encouragement.

I loved the beautiful murals that are painted all around the walls of the center. It made me smile thinking that the kids get these wonderful images every day.

The next stop was Baby House, a private house that was bought to house and protect a number of very young orphans. Many of these kids were injured in the quake, but their smiles were so strong. They were too young to read the book to so I showed them the paintings and talked about what they saw in the pictures. They were so precious.

The next day I stopped by with Bryn, who was delivering something, and all these kids came running, "Jesse! Jesse!"
I got to give them hugs and hold their hands as we walked around the center. The kids were so affectionate and it was heartbreaking to consider the fact that they no longer had parents taking care of them. I will not forget them and they will live in my prayers forever.

Below is one of the leaders of the center. He was an orphan raised by Father Rick, and now that he is old enough, he is looking after the new orphans. It is so inspiring and encouraging. This young man is the hope for Haiti. Not the distant hope like these tiny kids, but the immediate hope for the immediate future. Please join me in helping young men and women like this. Support the active groups in Haiti who are making a real difference in the quality of life of these wonderful children.

St. Damien's Hospital


Artists for Peace and Justice

1 comment:

  1. I'm really moved by all these posts, Jesse. Thank you so much for bringing these stories and pictures home and sharing them. You really have put your heart into your work with this one, even with just these posts, and it shows. I'm inspired.