I am new to Cross Catholic Outreach’s staff of writers. On my recent and first trip to Haiti, it made no difference as our amazing ministry partners and the beautiful program participants welcomed me with warm smiles and inspiring stories.
I landed on the western side of the island with certain expectations. While I wasn’t alarmed by the hustle and bustle of Port-au-Prince or by the presence of government officials toting weapons at traffic stops, I can’t say I’ll ever understand drivers’ etiquette in Haiti (though South Florida’s roadways could serve as a preparatory course).
All in all, I thought I knew what I was in for. This was a trip to the poorest country in the western hemisphere, so I had emotionally prepared myself to see and deal with the hope-draining effects of extreme poverty; a poverty so severe it robs people of optimism and weighs them down with the hard realities of daily survival.
What I wasn’t prepared for was what Kobonal Mission presented: a generation of dreamers.
During my visit, the Mission celebrated 25 years of service, and the benefits of this blessed ministry were evident when I asked children one question – “What do you want to be when you grow up?” In America, that question is pretty standard, but in poverty-ridden countries like Haiti, I wasn’t certain what to expect. Poverty doesn’t allow for the luxury of hopeful future planning, because the poor don’t even know where their next meal will come from.
Surprisingly, the children answered the question with determination and confidence. No matter how farfetched their goal was – to be a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, an accountant, even president of Haiti – they spoke of their dreams with optimism. Clearly, by growing up under the influence of the Mission, they had gained the ability to dream, not merely survive.
I was humbled and blessed by the light and life radiating from these children.
Transformation through renewed minds is undoubtedly happening at the Kobonal Mission. God’s love is restoring a people with a new hope for life and a confidence in who they are and who they can be in our Lord Jesus Christ. It was wonderful to see how Father Meaux and the Kobonal Mission are building a vibrant, hope-filled community in Haiti from the soul out.