I met him doing our water distribution. He came up to me with some other little boys I have been trying to get to know. I asked his name and he told me that he had just told me the day before. I asked him to give me one more chance at remembering it. He told me it was Gregory.
The next day Gregory showed up at our fence with a handful of seashells. He said he wanted to give them to my wife. I thanked him and accepted them. I gave him a few gourdes (Haitian money) for them and before he got out of the alley his mother came along and took the money. The next day Gregory showed up again with more seashells. I told him that he did not have to keep looking for seashells. He asked if I had any left over food he could have. How do you say no. He is by far one of the thinnest kids in our area. So I gave him an apple.
Gregory, Gaele, Lormite, and Daphne with their school supplies
When school started Gregory was still coming to our fence to hang out every morning. I asked him why he was not in school. He gave the answer I already knew. Cob- money. He has older brothers and sisters so his family can not pay for him to go to school. God broke my heart for him and we felt we should help him with going to school. I told him to have his mother come when I turned on the water that afternoon so I could talk to her.
Prayer time with the kids for their school year
The next morning I walked with Gregory and his mom to his little school. A series of concrete block buildings with tin roofs and make shift benches. I sat in the hot office of the director as we got Gregory registered. He is 12 years old and entering the second grade. He has not been able to go to school most of the past years due to money. We paid for the school. Then we bought the books. Then we bought the material and hired someone to make the uniform. Then we bought him some shoes. Then we bought a backpack. All these things are NON optional for you to be able to go to school. All in all it was about $100 USD for the year. We are just waiting now for his uniform to be made and he should start next Monday.
Everyday Gregory shows up at our house with seashells. Most days he does not ask for anything or want anything. He just smiles a huge smile as I take them and tell him I will give them to Joy.
Gaele and Lormite (2 of Joy's girls) in their new school uniforms and shoes and backpacks- They showed up at our house the first day for Joy to dress them and get them ready
Gregory is just one of the 13 kids that we have sponsored in the past 2 weeks for school. It started with Joy's little band of 3 girls from church that live with a little widow behind the bakery in one hot little room with a dirt floor. They are 11-13 years old and have absolutely nothing and were not going to be able to go to school so Joy felt we should help them.
Then there is the son and daughter of Pastor Andre's yard man. They also were not going to be able to go because of how hard things are right now since the hurricane.
Joy and Jacy spoiling the girls by doing their nails in preparation for school
Today Joy is in the market as I write this buying uniform material and shoes for Mirlande. She is an 18 year old sweetie that works part time here at House of Bread. She comes from a very poor family and thought one more year was going to pass that she would have to sit out and not get the education she longs for.
This morning Mirlande showed up early to help Joy with some house work. As she worked I asked her about her schooling. She told me that if God wanted her to go to school, He would make it happen. I told her that Joy had been wanting to see if we could help her. She began to cry. She said for the last 2 weeks she has cried often as she knew her parents could not help her go back to school. She hugged Joy and would not let go as she cried and thanked her for being an answer to her prayers. So Joy took her to the school and registered her and now she is helping her get what she needs. She is going to be 18 next month and entering the 8th grade. She is very smart but just comes from a very rural area and has had to spend more time collecting water and working in the fields than in school.
Kisnel (aka Paul)- our creole tutor- is going to Port Au Prince to a technical school to learn computer repair. We are sponsoring him as well as his wife to go to cosmotology school. Mr. and Mrs. Exam both work here at House of Bread and we are also helping them with 3 of their children to go to school because Madam Exam's mother is very sick and they are responsible for buying the medications and helping with Dr. bills.
Just today I have been asked by 4 others if I could possibly help them be able to go to school too. It is so hard to tell them no but we are drained of school money at the moment. Please pray God gives us wisdom on how to help and when to help. Education is so important and we had no idea how hard it is for the average Haitian to educate their children. We are grateful we are able to help the ones God opened the door, for but we have more that we have had to turn away than we have been able to help.
On top of that type of ministry I had a little mother show up this morning with a 18 month old baby covered in sores from head to toe. She had been to the free clinic but did not have the money for the medicine. She also said that she thinks one of the reasons he won't quit crying is that she has not been able to feed him. We got the little guy some mayi farine- corn flour- that the ladies had prepared for breakfast and then helped her get the medicine. Joy and I had a prayer time with mom and the little guy and she was grateful but still very concerned about her baby's health. She is supposed to bring him back Thursday for me to see him again.
We are looking forward to being back in the states in October but we are also hating having to leave for awhile right when we are starting to get settled in.
Doing make shift eye exams on the director and 3 teachers from a local school