It seems nobody loves Drouin. It’s a sequestered, hot, poor, and isolated spot in rural Haiti, far from the TV cameras, the decision makers, and the big NGOs. The earthquake left them largely untouched but they suffered mightily in the cholera outbreak and continue to navigate the fall-out from rice subsidies which put them largely out of work.
This community of proud and hard-working Haitians captured my heart precisely because they are a bit on the margins of the rest of the world’s love, resources, compassion, and consciousness.
Even now, out of all our initiatives in Haiti, the kids in Drouin are among the last to be sponsored.
I’ve always loved to root for the underdog though.
Christmas is traditionally a time for family. We gather together for worship and celebration, for meals and for gifts, for parties and to make memories. Whether our families are together by birth or by choice, Christmas is a time for gathering and connecting with one another in beautiful ways. We make time and spend money and tell stories with our families, Christmas gathers us together.
And in Drouin, that is exactly the value that guides our work: family.
Our work in Drouin is all about keeping families together, empowering parents to raise their children, ensuring that these kids don’t ever end up in an orphanage because of preventable economic reasons.
Orphan prevention is a key part of orphan care.
Too often, we show up after the crisis when the holy work can also be found in making sure that the crisis never happens.
If Christmas is for family, then Christmas is also the time for Drouin.
A Tale of Two Josephs
On the day that I wrote about Drouin when I was in Haiti last April, my mother was prompted by the Spirit to participate in redemption’s story here. She decided to sponsor an older boy named Joseph. She saw his picture on the website and some part of her heart just knew that this was the boy she could focus her bit of good and prayer and resource onto in Drouin – he shares a name with her only grandson, after all.
That night, my mother emailed me in Haiti and told me what she had done. I was sitting on my bunk, sweat running down my back like a river, enjoying a brief moment of wifi connection when I read her email and then I wept.
Because Joseph was a boy that I knew. I knew his name and his face right away. I get overwhelmed in large crowds of strangers so I typically find just one or two people to talk to in a bit more depth. On this hot day in Drouin, it was Joseph who caught my eye and became a friend for the day. Earlier, we had sat together under a tree and talked, we ate together. Out of all the kids at that school, I hung out with that kid, I had pictures of him in my camera phone, and of course that was the boy my mother felt lead to sponsor.
These are the ways of the Spirit, aren’t they? Just those little kisses from heaven to let you know you’re not alone and we’re in it together and it all matters.
This Christmas, our family story includes two Josephs – my Joseph here in Abbotsford and another woman’s son named Joseph in Drouin.
My mother is making sure that Joseph stays with his mother.
This Christmas, we will love Drouin
As you prepare and budget for Christmas, would you make some room in your family for Drouin?
Look through the website here and pray, ask God which one of these kids belong with your family Christmas conversations and gatherings this year.
From our corner of the Internet, I believe we can sponsor 20 kids. That’s not outrageous, but it will have an outrageous and lifelong affect on 2o families.
With your sponsorship, you’ll ensure a child receives one good hearty meal a day at school. You’ll contribute towards paying for the teachers at the school as well as supplies, towards childcare for the younger children so their parents can find work in peace and remain confident that child-traffickers or predators have no access to their unattended children, and also towards community development funds to improve roads, build homes, water, and finance farming initiatives.
All of these things will keep families together, you see?
That’s a happy Christmas, indeed. I can’t imagine a better gift for your family and for the families of Drouin.
Photos courtesy of Help One Now.