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Through a Child's Eyes

“Therefore, whoever humbles themselves like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4

I was thinking today about my girls and how pure and simple their view of life is. Everything is straightforward and so uncomplicated. I can often over-analyze and over-think certain situations; it’s always a burst of fresh air to talk to my ladies. I try to speak to them about Haiti and how they are feeling about living here; I want to make sure they understand where we are and why we’re here. It’s exciting to demonstrate faith to them, showing them I don’t have all the answers.

Today I sat down with my oldest, Abigail, to see where her heart was….
Me:     “What do you like about living in Haiti?”
Abs:    “Mommy, our house, trees, the food, especially the mangos.”
Me:     “What is different here than at Mimi and Papa’s (a.k.a America)?”
Abs:    “There is no snow, it’s expensive here, house is smaller… but just enough room to play, food.”
Me:     “What is the same about the two places?”
Abs:    “Furniture, mommy and daddy, Hannah and me.”

I was so floored when I heard her answer to the last question. Mommy and daddy and Hannah are what is the same in her eyes. It was so comforting knowing she thought her parents that gave her peace and comfort in the States gave her the same peace and comfort in Haiti. I began to think about our faith and how true this should be for everyone. It means that no matter where we are in our lives, going down a rough path, really struggling with our surroundings, or just not enjoying where we are…one thing should always remain the same; we will ALWAYS have peace and comfort in Jesus.

I continue to learn so much here by watching my little ladies grow and understand differences in people and culture. They see and understand on a different level, at a slow but steady pace. They see people and their sufferings in a simple way…people who are no better, no less than any of us. Any one of them could be their friend until proven otherwise.

Watching my ladies has taught me so much as we deal with our struggles and frustrations. Life has brought us down a crooked and awkward path, but I am thankful that we are all beginning to see through new and different eyes.

Haiti Through My Eyes

As part of our guest blog series, we hope to show you Haiti’s diversity by providing an assortment of perspectives from within Haiti. This guest blog post was written by 17 year old Atalide Beaulieu, who was born and raised in Haiti. She attends a Catholic school in Port-au-Prince where she her classes are all in French. She feels strongly that Haiti should be portrayed more positively in the media, and that its unique culture be exposed to the world. She told us, “I never let people say bad thing about Haiti because that’s the only place where I feel at home. And also I don’t believe that my country is  ” poor ” because we don’t have beautiful buildings and a  lot of kids are hanging in the streets begging for money “. Problems are a part of life.  We may not have all the luxury in the world but we have the most important and the essential.”

Often, not to say always, the international media sources project a negative image of Haiti. Yes, most of us live in poor conditions; yes, most of the children don’t have the chance to go to school. Yes, we’re still living with the memories of January 12, when the earth trembled. But what the media does not show the world is the good side of our country!

Haiti is a country where the majority is poor and a minority is wealthy, but no matter what we are going through, we are really strong and always have a joy for living.

Living in Haiti is NOT easy. Sometimes it is unbearable because of the weather and the mosquitoes, we also have some problems like electricity and the quality of some roads. The EDH (Haiti’s Electricity) used to barely provide us with electricity but right now they’ve improved the quality of the service that they are providing. Some neighborhoods have electricity about 20/24 hours, a major improvement! But if you want electricity 24/24 you can buy an inverter, or solar panels.

Some roads have a lot of holes in them, and in places like Route de Frères, Delmas, and Petion-ville the traffic is ridiculous! So you’ll have to leave your house at least 1hour in advance if you don’t want to be late! And after the rain, trash often ends up in the streets so it’s almost impossible to go through it! And the tradeswoman refuse to stay in the markets so they invade the streets, which are really annoying and slows down the traffic.

However, Haiti is a culture rich with tradition…If you want to have diner, lunch or breakfast in Haiti IT’S POSSIBLE! We have a lot of restaurants serving international dishes (Italian, Arabic, Chinese, French cuisine). If you want to have some finger licking sushi I would recommend Lunch Box (which is a more casual restaurant located in a mall—you can stop there and eat something while shopping). Or if you’re looking for something more sophisticated, check out View Restaurant. The first Jamaican restaurant in Haiti, Kingston18, launched last December serving good Jamaican dishes at affordable prices. And an Irish pub also launched a couple of months ago, serving good Irish dishes and classic dishes like hamburger & fries! So we have various restaurants if you want to have a good dining experience in Haiti.

The Haitian version of a slush is called Fresco, and it is produced with syrup made from natural fruits! I wouldn’t recommend the ones in the streets, but I know a place called Lily’s Fresco, which serves very good fresco made in front of you, and you have so many flavors to choose from. By far one of the best pastry experiences you will ever encounter, Patisserie Marie Belliard, is located in  Pétion-Ville.  It is  one of the many examples of Haitian culinary mastery. This bakery uses everything in the right proportion to create light, airy and fresh creations that will literally make you feel as if you’re in heaven with every bite.

Night life in Haiti is exciting!! Some entertainment companies like to bring international DJs & singers, we have some festivals & gastronomic events, we have a Jazz festival every year, beach parties, happy hours at some bars & restaurants , stand-up comedy  shows; you won’t get bored easily . We have very comfy hotels and a 5 Star hotel: the Royal Oasis. We have an underground museum, and lots more.

Family is really important to us, we like to have dinner on Sundays, enjoy homemade meals and laughter. We have nice spots to hang with friends like Pizza Garden (the service is slow sometimes but it’s worth it), and Fior Di latte, where they serve the best ice cream in Port au Prince.

Despite the fact that we have a lot of people who can’t read or write, we have great schools, congregational schools, we have American schools too & some schools owned by a specific family. We call these schools private courses.

When it comes to shopping, Haiti we have plenty nice stores with nice items but the prices are very high compared to other countries. However, if you’re looking for artisanal fashion items made exclusively in Haiti I would suggest “veve bags” by Phelicia Dell, “T-mel “bags by Melissa Etienne or “Collection doree “a line with various fashion pieces for women.

Haiti may have a lot of problems but nothing is all white or black! Everything in this world have his positive and negative aspect so we need to make the best of it and enjoy, because Haiti is a wonderful country despite all! To try it, is to love it!

What is your perspective on Haiti? If you’re interested in blogging for us, email [email protected] . All pictures for this post were submitted by Atalide. 

Courage, Confidence and Confusion

When I arrived in Haiti almost two months ago, I arrived with little courage, even less confidence, and a whole lot of confusion. I’m not naturally one to be strong in my own abilities and coming to a foreign land has not been easy for me. It’s hard to be away from family and friends, to be away from those who I depend on. At home I always knew I was not far from a shoulder to cry on, but I can’t say the same thing here. I’ve thought a lot about this feeling of being cut off from the “world” and whether I can survive. But not just survive, to thrive, to have meaning and purpose to life.


Before coming to Haiti I knew it was going to be hard. At first I was nervous about communicating and trying to develop relationships with the Haitians. There is such a difference in mindset and culture. It’s tough to be a “blen” (“white” in creole) here. People seem to stare at my every move, and often complete strangers walk up to beg for a handout.  I sometimes feel like the odd one out. For instance, parenting is done differently here, the Haitian children are so well-behaved.  I get embarrassed when my kids get whiny or act especially crazy. Sometimes I feel as if I’m doing something wrong.

Its very much an emotional roller coaster, but I am learning a lot about myself. I feel as if these difficulties in this time will refine me. I know there is so much I need to change and there’s nothing like being pulled away from all the distractions and being sent out with nothing but our little family and God.
I’ve come to the realization that NO matter where we live and what we’re doing, life may be hard, frustrating and scary; but it can also be amazing, exciting and purposeful.
I’m  learning to be more confident in myself as a mother and wife. The girls are gaining an understanding of true poverty. My husband is growing on a daily basis as he works on his humility and leadership skills. All the while I am beginning to gain a true and real confidence in myself and what God has for us, a courage that faces down difficulties, and the strange ability to let go of the confusion.

Doylestown Elementary School Knows that Education Goes Beyond the Classroom

Last week, Warwick Elementary School raised awareness in their school by putting all the trash that they accumulated throughout the week in the school’s courtyard. The hope was that the elementary school students would see what it was like to live in a situation where there wasn’t regular trash collection. Chad Watters, the school principal explained, “No trash for a week is already providing a tremendous visual for the entire school. It’s going to open the door for meaningful conversations which each class can relate directly to our charity efforts, global understanding, current events, empathy…the list is pretty endless.” In addition to raising awareness, the elementary school has a goal to raise enough money to build a tilapia farm in Haiti, one of Poverty Resolutions’ most recent projects. So far, the school has raised $786.82!

A few students of the elementary school have voiced their perspectives on the week long project below.

We have 3 days worth of trash from our small school already. Within that time span, we have gathered close to 100 trash bags stacked on top of each other. Now imagine that multiplied by 100, or even 100,000. Now imagine all of that trash without trash bags. That is a lot of trash polluting our area, and that is what Haitians live with every day. – Duncan H.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel that it is important that we make others aware of the conditions in Haiti and raise money to help their nation.-Mary D.
People might not appreciate their clean home and schools, but in this school, when we look at the pile, we appreciate the clean things we do have!– Amber A.


Most of the people have not chosen to live their life in these conditions, but they don’t have enough money to move. We can help the people of Haiti live in better conditions just by telling more people.- Alexandra B.

The students were inspired to launch this project after seeing a presentation in their school by Poverty Resolutions, and will be having similar challenges throughout the year such as a day where the school will function without electricity. It’s incredibly inspiring to see so many elementary students passionate about Poverty Resolutions’ causes at such a young age! If you’re interested in having Poverty Resolutions present at your school, click here.

 

The Other Side of the Coin: A Haitian Student and the Earthquake

As part of our mission to use our blog as a way to show the world the real Haiti, we will be having several Haitian students guest blog about their firsthand experiences in Haiti. Meet our first guess blogger, Steve Jean Pierre, who is a Haitian student studying economics in Japan. He was born in Port-au-Prince in 1990 and went to one of the most prestigious schools in Haiti, the College Catts Pressoir, from elementary school until high school. His family was greatly affected by the 2010 earthquake, and he writes about how it completely altered his life:

 

My name is Steve Jean Pierre, and l am from Haiti. Today, it seems superfluous to mention the troubles that I have encountered as a result of the earthquake on January 12th, 2010. The ongoing tragedy in my country is well known. I would prefer to focus on my objectives, on the future, on positive things.

l am determined to study hard, in order to acquire as much knowledge as possible during my university life. I think that knowledge is one of the principal keys to success, both personal and professional. I also believe that happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.

l lost 5 members of my family during the earthquake. All our economic material such as our home, car, were taken away from us by the earthquake, leaving me, my sister and my widowed mother with nothing at all. Everything was gone.

One expression which can really explain our situation is “the other side of the coin” in French which is “le revers de la medaille”. One good lesson l learned from the earthquake is that materialists are in a wrong way. My family and l experienced it; one minute you’re smiling like you own the world because you have a lot of money, are solid economically,  and the next you your world falling down upon you because you lost everything during a disaster.

Thankfully, l am studying in Japan right now. Although I have decided to study economics, l have been interested in studying agriculture since I was a child. Now, at Doshisha University, while l am studying economics, l am taking some environment class as well. Agriculture fascinated me and, today, the lack of a healthy agricultural sector is one of the biggest problems facing my country. My goal is to work to improve the Haitian economy, with a focus on agriculture, one of the main facets of a solid economy.

l am determined to be one of the people who help to heal Haiti, to make it a better place. I can envision a future in which a growing Haitian economy is strengthened by a relationship with Japan, learning how to manage businesses and company resources, learning about macroeconomics and the global agricultural economy.

Steve and his family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My biggest motivation for making this a reality, is my family, especially my mother, who desperately needs my help.

 

Do you have your own unique experience with Haiti that you would like to share with the world? Email [email protected]