Brian Campbell joins Secret Keeper Girl speaker Suzy Weibel on a journey to Haiti this week. While there, the group will visit children at Holt Fontana Village as well as families in Holt’s family preservation program.
by Brian Campbell
Today we visit the community of a young girl named Noely. Noely just entered Holt’s sponsorship program, and Suzy Weibel, Secret Keeper Girl presenter, has just begun providing sponsorship support for her. Today, Suzy will meet Noely, and learn how her sponsorship support will help change the life of Noely and her whole family.
Arcahaie, Haiti— The van rocks from side to side as we negotiate roads that are rough from years of neglect. This is a community of idle young men, skyrocketing unemployment and overwhelming poverty. Women stand in doorways of their nearly empty homes, seeking a breeze, hoping to find relief from conditions that oppress even the most optimistic. The community is filled with talented and skillful people, but no one who can afford their services. “These realities surround Noely and her family every day, ” Suzy observes. Soon we come to a part of the alley too narrow to drive , and we walk the remaining distance. A few minutes later, we come to Noely’s family’s compound. Stepping inside the gate, Suzy sees her sponsored child, Noely, for the first time. Noely’s hair is in beautiful, intricate corn rows with brightly colored beads at the end of each delicate braid; They make a soft shuffling sound as she jogs up to Suzy. Taking Suzy’s hand, Noely introduces her mother, Goulette*, her little sister, Rose* and her grandmother to the group.
“Would it be okay if I asked them a few questions?” asks Suzy. Supreme shares Suzy’s wishes with Goulette. Smiling, Goulette brings chairs to the front porch. Feeling a bit shy, Noely sits next to her mother, watching Suzy from behind her mother’s arm. Sensing Noely’s shyness, Suzy directs her first question to Goulette. “How long have you lived here?” asks Suzy. Goulette describes how she and her husband moved in with her mother to keep the girls near a school the family could afford. Noely’s father had to travel six hours by unreliable transportation to Port-au-Prince, so he could send money home.
That was in 2010.
Then, the earthquake hit. The money stopped coming from the city. It’s been two years, and Noely’s father has not been heard from since. Looking to the ground, Goulette says that she doesn’t know if her husband is dead or alive. Today, she finds herself alone and without means to survive much less send her girls to school.
“What do you do? How do you eat or get food?” asks Suzy. As Supreme translates Suzy’s question for Goulette, even the little girls become solemn as they listen. In hushed tones, Goulette begins to explain that she has taken small laundry jobs for small amounts of food or cooking supplies. When that fails, she goes to her church. Goulette begins to weep openly. Supreme’s voice cracks as he translates the story back to Suzy. Noely takes her mother’s arm in hers. Rose, sitting on Goulette’s lap, lays her head on her mother’s chest and wipes the tears from her mother’s cheek. It’s silent on the front porch as Suzy takes Goulette’s hand. Looking above the doorway to their humble little home, Supreme sees a chalk inscription. Loosely translated it says, “Someday, with Jesus, my day will come.” What does that mean to you?” asks Suzy of Goulette. “God will provide for me and my family,” says Goulette. “I have faith that He will.”
Supreme tells Suzy that Holt has purchased beans, rice and other cooking supplies for Noely and her family.
Supreme hoists the bags of dry goods onto his shoulders, and Suzy and Holt staff bring the food and cooking supplies to Noely and her family. Hope returns to Goulette’s face, and Rose and Noely’s smiles broaden with excitement as jump ropes and new shoes are presented to them.
As we leave, Suzy looks back over her shoulder. Noely, and her mother and sister linger by the gate, waving. “It’s good to see my sponsorship at work. To meet Noely and to hear about her family. This is going to be a personal connection I’ll never forget,” she says. “I can really understand the importance of a $30 a month gift, and what it can mean for the life of a little girl called Noely.”
Help children like Noely and Rose! Sponsor a child today.