Restavek is a form of modern-day slavery that persists in Haiti, affecting one in every 15 children. Typically born into poor rural families, restavek children are often given to relatives or strangers. In their new homes, they become domestic slaves, performing menial tasks for no pay.
On January 28th Sheila Lynch wrote about a 12 year old restavek, named Alexandra, who is in our literacy program (Click here to read that blog). I, in this blog, want to update you on Alexandra and on the changes we are seeing in her life.
This 12 year old girl came to the Heartline literacy program and said, “I want to learn to read and write.” She also said that she wants to be a nurse. Well, let me tell you that she said this to the right people, because we are encouraging her, the older women are showing their love and concern to her and the results can be seen. She no longer walks head down, not making eye contact. She now walks with her head up and with a beautiful, toothy smile on her face. She laughs easily and comes to the office regularly to visit where one of the office workers sits with her, loves on her and tells her about Jesus and his love for her.
Alexandra with her stethoscope, blood pressure cuff and carrying bag. We aren’t showing her face as she is only 12 years old and feel it wouldn’t be appropriate.
Last week we had a group here from New Hampshire and they brought Alexandra a stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff and a personalized bag to carry them in. No one here is going to say, “Alexandra, don’t be silly, you will never become a nurse” or “No way, won’t happen.” No, never, never!
Perhaps this is the first time she’s found adults that don’t treat her like a servant. We are giving her something to hold onto, to strengthen her, to encourage her. She can hold onto the love and patience shown by the literacy teacher. She can hold onto the acceptance and respect that she is given whenever she comes to Heartline. She can hold onto the affirmation and encouragement she receives. She can hold onto her dream because people are believing in her. And, she can hold onto God, as his love and word are shared with her.
Will Alexandra become a nurse? I don’t know. I’m shooting for a doctor and my name for her is now ‘Doc.’ I do know this, that God in his wisdom has allowed her to become a part of our lives and we recognize the honor and privilege that God has bestowed on us by being a part of her life.
As I see people enter onto the Heartline property, often, I feel a surge of deep thankfulness to God that we can be a place for them where they can experience the love of God in word and in action.
Your prayers for Alexandra are very much appreciated. Against strong odds she is learning to read, write and dream.
My prayer is: Father, help us to be quick to recognize those that you bring to us that are in need of healing words, acceptance, extra attention and, of course, your love and grace. Help us to recognize our own weaknesses and failures and to reach across and not down to those that you bring to us. Help us, as well, to share about your great love shown to us by Jesus Christ.
But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left. Matthew 19: 14,15
Want to help us help others like Alexandra? Click here to donate. Thank you for helping us make a difference here in Haiti!