The following true story represents the impact we are having in Haiti, at varying degrees, among all those we come in contact with. However what impact actually is or is not becomes often clouded by rhetoric. The greatest impact comes from actually living life with Haitians, accepting and being accepted for who we are. It’s in the meantime that we develop our Programs. Everyone is someone, and the prerequisite to any lasting IMPACT is Respect and Humility.
This is not the Impact we intend in Haiti…
This was Desilmes house.
I would pass some mornings after rain on the way in to the jobsite and see hands bailing water out the front door. He lived there with his wife and at the time six children. Now he has seven. LaNae had asked if we couldn’t just “fix” this. But she was told this would disrupt the community. Desilme had made some trouble. Why should Desilme find a benefit ? Things didn’t look good for him until, one day, he found work with me at the Welsch School Project and was able to consistently work for 9 months. This small amount of stability opened the door for him to build a new home….Below he is shown with his wife and family. The two oldest are missing from the photo.
But then he ran out of work…
and like so much in Haiti he was starting over, momentum lost. In fact every re-entry into Haiti before Lakou has been a little like this …starting over, retraining certain disciplines, reteaching same principles. Some stayed with me for several projects and did well progressing… but not as well as could be with real consistency and solid intentional training.
I’ve been asked, “Aren’t you proud of what Desilme has accomplished?” and my answer is , “Not Really.” Yes, I’m proud of Desilme and thankful his family isn’t on a dirt floor anymore…but this is only 9 Months of Impact, and that with only the benefit of a job, without formal training. The new house is great but this isn’t the end. It’s only the beginning.
The rest of the story is not glory and riding into the sunset. The landlord wishes to sell the land, but Desilme is safe for the moment under a form of squatter’s rights. What to do ?
What do you do with a guy like Desilme, who provides not only for himself and the eight others of his personal family, with additional obligations to his extended family? What do you do with a guy who is at a minimum Project Manager material, extremely smart? What do you do with a guy who has bought in completely to the message that Dignity comes with earned success and he is willing to work harder than he has ever worked before in his life...ready to make a change and commit himself to FOREVER BEING CHANGED...ready to work in service to others and for his country?
I suggest we train him and put him to work ! Impact starts from relationships with the Desilme’s, and there are many, many others just like him and ready to go.