Heartline this month has completed the first year of our sponsorship program for 50 students in Cite Soleil, the oft spoken of and written of slum in Haiti. My initial thoughts are tremendous admiration and thankfulness for the people and organizations that year after year labor to make a difference in Cite Soleil and in the lives of the people.
It has not been an easy year. No, I’m not talking about the actual sponsorship and sending the children to school. The sponsors have been amazing and faithful in investing into the lives of these young people. It’s the OTHER STUFF that has made it somewhat difficult. Although I have been in Haiti for 21 years, it is STUFF that I can’t begin to understand, to truly know or feel that makes working in Cite Soleil a challenge. The needs are enormous and seemingly endless. The frustration of the people especially the young men can be seen and felt. Perhaps it would be even sadder if the people felt no frustration.
I don’t know what it is to live in a tin, rusty shack that bakes during the day and leaks when it rains. I don’t know what it is to live seemingly like sardines with hundreds of thousands of people jammed and crammed in a several square mile area. I don’t know what it is like to live in an area once called by the UN: The most dangerous place on earth. I don’t know what it is like to not have food for the day or money to buy necessities. I didn’t know what it was like to not be able to send our two children to school.
The Haitians value education and this is especially true for those that live in places like Cite Soleil. They want their children to attend school. They want them to get an education. They want a better life for them. They want them to be prepared for when an opportunity arises and to have the education to get a job.
Last year as we were spending quite a bit of time in Cite Soleil, we looked at so many children not in school, children on the streets and sitting in the narrow corridors that wind throughout Cite Soleil and we knew that we had to do something. We prayed and believed that God would have us invest in the lives of families, in the future and in the lives of 50 young people, by send sending them to school. I should really say that we would try to be the conduit through which people could invest in the lives of young people by sponsoring them to attend school. AND THAT IS JUST WHAT HAPPENED!
It has not been an easy road as the needs of the families do not stop at sending children to school. There, at times, have been some tense moments as I have had to tell people that we do not have the resources to help them with some of their others needs. Sometimes, in fact often, the people do not understand and frustration comes out. I do not think that I would or could understand either, if the roles were reversed.
We, in spite of the struggles, firmly believe that we must continue to invest into the lives of these young people. 50 children is not a lot but we with your help can do 50 and do it well. We for the upcoming year have sponsors for about half the the 50 students. It is a 10 month commitment at $50.00 a month. The money for each student pays for tuition, two meals each school day, books and supplies, a back pack, uniforms and shoes.
Please pray and see if the Lord would have you invest in the life of a young person from Cite Soleil Haiti. Click HERE for more information on supporting a student for the 2011-2012 school year.