Monday, September 16, 2013


                One of the things we have made part of our schedule is going down to the village as a
family. There’s plenty of work to be done on campus, planning for future teams, planning for projects, making sure things are running smoothly, etc. However, one of the things we have been striving for is making a connection with the local Haitian population and that’s just not going to happen unless we go meet them where they are. Even here, physically IN Haiti, we need to continue to GO to them… ironic, isn’t it? Anyway, there is a particular family that we visit often. We met them when we came down in November last year and we’ve continued to foster that relationship. It is a family that has several generations living together in one area. There is a fenced in “yard” and several
Example of a mud hut
houses in it. The majority of the houses are stick-and-mud huts, but there is currently one cinder block home there (though the foundation was just laid for a second). This cinder block home belongs to the patriarch of the family, the grandfather. Often times, he is out during the day, working, but there are many times we manage to catch him after he has returned and get a chance to visit with him, as well. They are a God-fearing family, even though they live right next to a voodoo temple. There are tons of kids that play in this area, belonging to the several sisters (daughters of the patriarch) that have started families here. Our kids enjoy playing with all the kids there and those kids certainly enjoy playing with ours, too. The Haitian kids have taught us games to play with rocks, sometimes they play tag (pretty universal), and other times I bring a soccer ball with me so we can all kick it around.
Boys proudly holding soccer ball
                Last week, we got to go twice to the village. On Wednesday, I brought a soccer ball with me and when we were leaving, the kids begged me to let them borrow it. I told them that I would leave the ball, but be back on Friday to pick it up. Immediately, the kids’ faces lit up as if they had just heard the best news in their lives. I added that I wanted them to take care of the ball – I looked over and caught the gaze of one of the mothers and she nodded approvingly. I told them if I came back and either they didn’t have it or they hadn’t taken care of the ball, I wouldn’t bring one back again for a while. They huddled up and started planning how they were going to ensure they took good care of it. Then, one of the smaller boys, came up and grabbed my hand and asked me if he could play with it, too. I addressed the older ones and told them they needed to share it with everyone. For a moment, they looked disappointed and said he was too small to play with them. So, I asked them how he was going to learn to play well if they didn’t teach him? They thought about it for a second and then responded with how they were going to teach him and Dawens (boy about Isaac’s age) and the other little boys in the area. I smiled and handed the ball over to them… and there was much rejoicing!
Boys posing with soccer ball
                One of the philosophies of ministry that NVM holds to is a hand-up versus a hand-out. We want to take care that we are not establishing a dependence on blans (white people), but contributing to the development of the people (spiritually, physically, mentally, and socially) towards independence and productivity and eventually contributing to the rebuilding of Haiti. That’s our mission, paraphrased. As I watched these boys respond to being allowed to borrow a soccer ball, I recognized the potential in being able to teach them about responsibility for others’ things. They understand responsibility for chores and contributing to the family. When one of the mothers returned home from selling charcoal that day, I watched one of the boys, Kiki, take the bags of charcoal off the donkey, take the saddle off, then bring the donkeys over to one of the village wells to get them water. That is his responsibility and how he contributes to his family. But there seems to be a disconnect when it comes to being responsible for others’ things, which would make sense considering they aren’t used to having much of anything. I returned on Friday, as promised, and when the boys came from the chores they were doing, they brought the ball out. I praised them for taking care of it and then pumped more air into the ball, as it has a slow leak. I brought it back with me after that visit, but already, my mind is reeling with how I can continue using this to have the boys held responsible to take care of something and slowly increasing that responsibility over time…

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