By Kathy Grib Novak
My second trip to the island of Haiti is shaping up to be very different from my first, although the trip out here went as smoothly, the ride in the bus to the Mission House in Les Cayes was just as long and the fellowship just as good! As much as I have enjoyed working with the medical team last year, I am really enjoying my time with the “Restavec” children this time. These kids are those who “stay with” others because their own families could not give for them. Their families give them to others in hopes of a better future for them, but sadly, this is not the case, as some are used as slaves to do work that no child should have to endure. “Mami” Ellen and her devotion to these children who were once slaves are truly inspiring and it is a blessing to be witness to her love for them. She visits these children several times a year from Connecticut, bringing her joy along with countless supplies and donations from kind friends and families back home. 18 children reap benefits from her generosity, and they live with “Papi” Pastor La Fume and his wife. The children also receive an education from 3 BEM School teachers just down the road from the home.
Before I came on this trip, I imagined the children would be sad, perhaps displaying symptoms of PTSD and depression. But this is Haiti and the one thing that continues to impress me about this country is the faith and deeply ingrained spirit of God in its’ people. These children show this spirit: they greet us with huge smiles every day, give incredible hugs and seem just like other children in every way! They long to be held and touched even though former caregivers have abused some. Two brothers in particular concern our team and Ellen will ask Pastor la Fume and Pastor John about them later today so we can help more. The children take part in our organized activities with zeal and say “merci” or “thank you” after receiving help or a gift. One little 3-year-old boy named Dino has captured my heart (as have many other children!)
On Wednesday we made photo collages, bead necklaces and wooden toy cars. The kids loved learning how to do different things; especially watching us saw blocks of wood that became cars with wheel that really worked! Today we will play whiffle ball, make felt necklaces, blow bubbles and go where the spirit leads us. Whatever we do one thing is for sure: we will enjoy every minute of being with God’s precious little ones! It is a blessing for me and no doubt for us all indeed! God is so very good.
Original article can be read at http://bemhaiti.org/