Recently I went on a motorcycle ride with one of the boys. We went to see a chiropractor serving in another part of Port au Prince. It took an hour to get to the clinic and an hour to return to my apartment. (It would have taken much longer in a car due to the congested traffic!) We both had our helmets on as well as long sleeves, jeans and tennis shoes. My hair was tucked inside my helmet and I tucked my hands inside my sleeves. What struck me the most about the trip was that for once, people did not see that I was white! No one said anything to the driver about having a foreigner on the bike. No one tried to sell us things when we had to occasionally stop for traffic or slow down for speed bumps or potholes. No one looked at me differently. In fact, no one noticed me… I was just another person going about their business… and it was refreshing!
The extreme poverty in Haiti coupled with the fact that for over fifty years, foreigners have come in with their good intentions and their money trying to “fix” things in Haiti, have led to the perception that all foreigners have money and solutions to Haiti’s problems. If I was to attempt to purchase something from a Haitian or to negotiate a contract, I would be charged markedly more than if a Haitian were to do so. For example, one day last year I asked a street merchant how much she wanted for an avocado. Twenty-five gourdes, she said. (I did not buy it.) Later that day, one of the boys bought an avocado for 5 gourdes. It was the same size as the one I had seen earlier in the day. He told me that at times he was able to purchase an avocado for 3 gourdes!
It is for this reason, as well as for empowering the boys (and ultimately inspiring other Haitians), that most of what I do is behind the scenes. The boys are the ones negotiating the land purchases and the contracts with the home builder. They are the ones negotiating the prices for the materials. They are the ones purchasing and delivering the food to the orphans. They are the ones delivering the soccer balls to the orphanages and playing with the children there. Of course, we talk about things beforehand and afterwards, but it is their faces that others see. Haitians need to see other Haitians being successful. They especially need to see former street kids being a light to others in the community and the world.
God graced me this past week with a conversation from a man in his thirties who loves to share with me about Haitian culture. He talked about many things but what stuck with me the most is how he said that street kids are considered the lowest of the lowest in Haiti and how God’s hand surely has been with these boys through the years to have protected them when they were on the streets. He marveled over how God led them to Jimmy, then to Grangou and Zanfan, then to jobs and being able to build a promising future. It reminded me of the importance of the future of these boys and how God continues to show me that they are leaders in their community, in their country. It reminded me of how God strengthens the weak and cares for “the least of these” in this world. It reminded me that God’s power is shown best when things are impossible without Him.
- Online – go to http://www.ashworthroad.com/donate.aspx
- Be sure and select “Other” and input purpose as “Linda Martin”
- When donating online, remember there is a 3% fee for credit card processing. (It is less than 2% if you use your bank account).
- Mail – Address is ARBC, 5300 Ashworth Rd, West Des Moines, IA 50266.
- Be sure and write “Linda Martin” in the memo line of your check.
Whether He is calling you to serve financially, prayerfully or in some other way, please listen to that call and respond accordingly.
Matthew 25:40 – “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’