Confession #127: Hope Isn’t Good Enough
Opportunity is not something we take lightly here in Haiti.
The opportunity to attend school.
The opportunity to have three meals a day.
The opportunity to work.
Opportunity does not come easily for the average Haitian. Opportunity is often for the wealthy and for those with status and connections.
Opportunity is the great divide between potential and success.
For youth who grow up as orphans, opportunity is rare. Many hang onto the hope that a foreigner would one day help support them and their dreams. That hope, however, often comes up empty handed and, quite frankly, is not entirely helpful.
Hope that is solely dependent on the welfare of another is not hope well grounded. It is unstable. Uncertain. Misappropriated.
I’m not saying that to hope in another is wrong. Instead, what often becomes problematic, is when one’s potential is contingent only on charity rather than their work ethic, their personal determination, and even their faith in God.
Sometimes I feel as though “hope” is such a cliché here in Haiti. Every other organization has the word in their name. Heck, we claim it in our mission statement: Bringing hope to the youth of Haiti….
Haiti needs hope. It’s true.
But hope without opportunity is often no greater than wishful thinking.
I know many who hope for a job but have no opportunity to find one; children who hope for parents but have no opportunity to be adopted; teens who hope to finish school but have no opportunity to pay for it. I held a young woman at my gate tonight as she wept over lost opportunities and (what she believes) is a hopeless future ahead.
We talk a lot about hope with our teens and staff at Emmaus House. Accompanied with that, however, we also try to create opportunities for our youth to work for and earn the futures they want if they are willing. And not all are. We have actually had to dismiss youth from our program because they wanted hand-outs more than the responsibility that often accompanies opportunity.
Opportunities are precious down here and we want our youth to never take this gift lightly if offered. We encourage them to dream and to hope, but we also require them to work, save, and earn.
Over the past few weeks many of our teens have had opportunities- opportunities to serve, to translate, to work, and to shadow professionals. All of these opportunities were purposefully and given to them in order to help prepare their for their futures. Here are some snapshots of what they have been up to….
We are blessed to be able to offer opportunities to our youth. And we are thankful to those who are helping us provide them. I continually pray that God would continue to send opportunities our way- opportunities for college education, professional schools, internship, service, and jobs. Opportunities like these don’t come easy for teens like ours, but we at Emmaus House are choosing, despite all odds, to remain hopeful.