Confession #127: Hope Isn’t Good Enough

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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….

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Kencia and Jenny spent two days shadowing and assisting the nurses and midwives at MamaBaby- a birthing center in Northern Haiti. Both girls have one more year of secondary school left. Kencia hopes to become a midwife and Jenny a nurse.

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Jetro translated for Tanya during a seminar for local orphanage leaders. With an interest in Psychology and Education, he learned a lot about child development and caring for kids who have dealt with trauma. Jetro has one more year of secondary school left and hopes to attend university in the states.

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Jenny is an excellent seamstress. One of her sponsors came to visit this past month to help her learn some new patterns. Be looking for her new purses on Etsy! http://www.etsy.com/shop/emmausworkshaiti

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Hunter recently got some new photography gear, which means him and Papouch had to play around and try it all out. Papouch has a natural eye behind the camera and hopes to attend photography school in Cap Haitien and eventually open his own studio.

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Willy has a natural talent for English and working with mission teams. Here he is translating for a professional school graduation. Following this school year, Willey hopes to begin a local program that will train him to work on various cruise lines. This will be a great opportunity for him to travel, use his English skills, and make and save some money.

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Our teens recently went to a local nursing home to feed and love on some elderly people in our community. Here is Manno helping a gentleman to his seat. Manno is still uncertain about his goal for the future but has an abundant amount of talents including drawing, English, computer programming, and graphic design.

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.

~ Jillian

One Comment on “Confession #127: Hope Isn’t Good Enough

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