We all long to be loved.
The first step to being loved is to be accepted. We quickly learned in Haiti it is a privilege to attend school.
Most schools require payment to attend. If you can pay for school, you also have to pay for a uniform and school supplies. But we found one very different school in a rural, mountainous village led by Jean Claude.Jean Claude started School of Hope when he saw a need in this rural village. It was a long, bumpy bus ride up the mountain to get to Jean’s school. Once we got there, we were greeted by smiling kids.
Spring Break Week
One awesome point to note: in a normal week, this school houses about 400 kids, Kindergarten through 8th grade. It was spring break while we were there, and we still found 200+ kids who showed up. On their spring break.
Kids showed up because they knew they were going to get fed. They knew Americans were coming to see their school and their feeding program. If they hadn’t come that day, they likely wouldn’t eat that week. So they all showed up on spring break, and we had a blast.
We danced, sang, and fed kids. Kids were patient as the kitchen ran out of plates and forks. That meant waiting for clean dishes and more rice to be cooked and plated and then served. Only half the school was there, so the patience it requires on a regular school day is astounding!
In the singing and dancing and eating, we learned:
kids are kids are kids
One of my new friends played with my hair (again, this was a thing while we were there). She wore a faded Princess Ariel dress. And we danced together. With no music. We couldn’t communicate by words, but she stuck to my side, and held my hand and we danced.We laughed with each other when we couldn’t understand one another. We accepted one other. In another room, kids huddled together watching a Disney movie in Creole.
My heart smiled the entire day. It doesn’t matter what country you are in, what you have, what you don’t have. Kids are kids are kids. Everywhere. And all kids deserve to eat. And all kids deserve to be loved.
Hope was peaking through at School of Hope. Hope came in the form of Jean Claude, who saw a need for a school and saw a need to accept kids regardless of payment. And he said “yes” to kids.
Saying yes to kids matters.
Acceptance of kids matters.
“You may be the best chance a kid will have to find a place to belong.”
A New Kind of Leader, Reggie Joiner