Haiti is known as the poorest country in the world.
The World Bank notes that more than 80-percent of Haitians live on less than 2-dollars a day. So, survival is about the only priority there.
But, hundreds of folks from the Ozarks are helping Haitians afford to go to school, to try and turn around that country’s future.
There is nothing in the way of luxuries or conveniences in Haiti.
But there is something refreshing about seeing the genuine joy for people who possess so little. Both of these little boys are blind. You’d think they were maybe four and six. They’re eleven and 14.
Seven-year-old Mikey has Hydrocephalus, water on the brain. That’s a condition very treatable in the U.S. But not in Haiti.
“It is overwhelming, you get to looking in the kids eyes and you can see that they are very impoverished very malnourished, but for the most part, they are very happy, they like to play, they like the attention,” said Sondra Peck from Walnut Grove, Missouri. “And you wouldn’t guess, you kind of forget for a while the situation they are living in when you are playing with them, and interacting with them.”
She says their joy is contagious.
“But then to go into the inside of one of their homes, dirt floor, nothing, no toys, no pots and pans even, it’s just very humbling,” said Peck. “Our situation is not really good because our kids in our community cannot go to school because their parents cannot pay for the school, we have the school but we don’t have food to give the students. “That’s a bad situation we are in in our community.
Leosthene Pierre was one of the fortunate ones. He could afford school.
“God give me the energy, the knowledge to go to school, primary school and secondary school and graduate from high school and after that God give me the ability to go to seminary theology and I started Fishers of Men Ministry in Port au Prince,” said Leosthene Pierre.
Now, he’s a pastor. The hope is that every Haitian kid can get an education.
“It’s $180 a year to sponsor a child there and there’s only 17 children that are sponsored, I mean $180 a year in the United States is nothing,” said Pierre.
Dave Meyer is a Springfield police officer. He gave up his paying job for a week to spend it on the least of these.
“Everybody that I’ve been in contact with so far is so grateful we are here,” said Meyer. “So thankful. It is mind blowing, the poverty of this place, I mean, these people have nothing. They literally have nothing. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from. We take a lot for granted in the United States.”
For Project Hope’s mission team it’s been a lesson in what provision really means. The few kids who are in school, have more than most in the country. Lynn Jospeh runs an orphanage, and this school.
Mrs. Lynn says that hundreds of people from the Ozarks actually sponsor a lot of these children here in Haiti. It takes about $180 a year, but that includes two uniforms, two meals a day and school five days a week just like you would have in
America. They are learning how to read and write, basically just the basics, but she says that will change the future of Haiti.
“We will be very very excited and very happy and glad to see each of you in Missouri can come and put hands together with us and Haiti and continue to support ministry and education and church and orphanage,” said Pierre.
If you’d like to help sponsor a child to go to school, or if you’d like to travel with Project Hope or donate to them, contact the Springfield office at 417-886-4673 or e-mail email@example.com.