Can You Find A Place For My Daughter- Part Two

Posted: October 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Several days ago on my previous post I wrote about a lady that we have known for several years that came to our house  early in the morning with her seven year old daughter. She, standing in front of the  gate next to her daughter, asked if we would find a place for her daughter to live as she couldn’t care for her any longer.  I still grapple with the emotions I felt as I heard her words, and  with what her daughter must have felt as she heard her mother speak those words.

A few days after I wrote that blog, I traveled to California to attend and participate in the memorial service of Paul Beltis, an amazing man and friend, who had died suddenly from a heart attack.  Since returning this week, I have met with the mom and her daughter twice,  have gathered information, and had one of the ladies from our Women’s Center go to where they live to verify information and to take pictures.

The mother’s name is Magareth.  She was born in 1962 in the cental city of Hinche, which is 47 miles from Port au Prince. Her mother died when she three days old and so she grew up in an orphanage in the area.  She during her time in the orphanage, never had a visit from a relative nor does she know of any relatives.  She has seven children, two of which moved to the Dominican Republic several years ago and she has not heard from or seen them since.  Two other children, live with others and she has three at home.  She can not read or write and makes money by doing laundry by hand from which she makes about $2.00 a day.   She lives in a tent which is better described as a mishmash of torn sheets, leaky tarps and old rusty tin roof pieces ( see photos at the end of this blog).

The seven year old, for whom the mother wants to find another home is named Violanda.  She was born in November 2004.

Magareth said that there are two things that she needs right now.  The first is to find a place for Violanda and the second is to find another place to live.  I told her that we will try to help her, but under no circumstances will be work to find an orphanage or any other place where Violanda will live apart from the family.  She agreed.

This is not just an issue of giving money or renting a better place to live or giving monthly support.  It is more involved that that.  It involves becoming a part of this family’s life.  Checking up on them regularly.  Helping to equip them for life.  Supporting them until they get to a place where they can live and provide for themselves.  In my mind it is sort of like helping someone learn to ride a bicycle.  You run behind, holding onto the back, while the rider works at not crashing or falling.  The goal is not to spend your whole life being needed; but rather to help the rider get to a place where he can ride independent of your help.  You demonstrate how to ride, how to use the brakes; you hold on and hold up the rider as you walk beside the rider as he learns and you run behind, holding on as the rider picked up speed; and eventually you let go and often picked up the rider and the bike after he crashes.  But you stay with it until he learned. And encourage the rider when he got discouraged.

So we want to begin with helping the family rent a house.  A small cement house, usually consisting of two rooms.  Food is prepared outside, there will be no running water and the toilet will be a communal outhouse.  Perhaps to you, this doesn’t seem like much, but to Magareth, it is more than she could ever hope for.  A house, a cement house with a door that can lock.  A house where their belongings do not get soaked when it rains.  A house with two rooms.  A place where the walls and the roof are not made of torn sheets and worn out tarps.

Secondly, we want to be sure that all three of the children that live with her are in school.

Thirdly, we want to have Magareth attend our literacy school,  get to know her a bit more to see what training we can give her and what kind of job we can help her to get.

This does mean that we will support the family monthly for some months, with the goal of helping them to be able  financially to provide for themselves.

Many have written and said that they would like to help.  I could have rattled off a number and raised support for the family.  But we can do better than that, and while money is needed, it must be with a goal of attaining independence not dependence.

The so called tent where the family lives

Margareth with Violande to her left and the two other children

Inside the tent where they must store all their belongings

Outside the tent where they cook

The Tent

I, within the next few days, should be able to share with you ways in which we can help this family and perhaps other families  to break free and out of that which holds them so tightly in its grasp.

John McHoul

  1. Jessie Jade says:

    And this is exactly why we are so excited about what God is doing through Heartline…I will never forget an article you wrote years ago entitled “Waiting Well” It really made me think about my patience level. Here in America we want instant results…instant answers. I appreciate that you have consistently waited on the Lord for direction over the years. Taking thee time to pray

  2. Lori Huber says:

    So sorry to hear about your good friend and his passing. I noticed it was mentioned in the Livesay blog as well. He must have been a big impact personally to you and to the organization. Thank you so much for following up with this woman and her children. She really touched your heart and, therefore, touched ours. I will be waiting to hear what specifically we can do to support the decisions you make on her behalf.

  3. Melissa Mae says:

    I’m thankful that this woman has someone to come alongside her to hold her (bike) up as she learns her way (to ride). Let us know when you know how we can help. I’m inspired by your dedication to the Haitian people and your reliance on the Lord to provide answers. Thank you.

  4. Rob and Glenda Reimer says:

    Hey John, Thanks for sharing this story…we were touched!! Praying for you guys.
    Rob and Glenda

  5. Esther says:

    It’s hard to read this story because I’ve been in enough tents and shacks to remember that feeling and also because my new neighbors seem in Cap Haitian appear to be living off of the meager and most likely random money handouts from Haitian diaspora. So it’s heartening to read what you’ve written about gaining independence. It’s important to add also that there’s A LOT that we can and need to be doing in North America to advocate and lobby for ethical practice when doing business in Haiti and a Jesus-like love when working on poverty issues. Haiti needs prevention just as majority of North Americans need more faith in the presence of God in each person and much less on capitalism and fear.

  6. Carla says:

    Bless you as you help those precious girls! They will be safe in the house too. Looking forward to knowing how to help.

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