Many of you know our kids officially started school yesterday. Previously they were in 6 different schools spread out throughout the community they are living in. When we were in Haiti in August, Matt and I had to go to these different schools to collect records on the kids….this was a challenge! It did give us a chance, however, to see the schools they were in compared to the school they are now attending. What an improvement!! Getting our kids into the Christianville LaSalle School has been a huge achievement and we are so excited about the opportunities this will give our kids.
It has not come without it’s set backs though. Through the admission process, we discovered several of our kids are years behind in school. This was hard to hear but not unexpected. Some of our older kids just began school a few years ago when they came to the orphanage. That means we have quite a few kids who made it through around 13 years of their life without ever stepping foot into a classroom because they could not afford to go (there is no free public education in Haiti). When I say years behind in school, I mean we have a 17-year-old boy in the 4th grade. Imagine if that were your 17 year old son and how you and he would feel. This is heart breaking to think of. We have hired tutors for these kids who are behind and are hoping this will allow them to catch up some but it has served as a reminder of the challenges our kids will face and the things they will have to overcome.
We have kids who will have to overcome being malnourished for the first several years of their lives (which does affect brain development). We have kids who will have to study hard enough and learn quick enough to make up 3,4, and even 5 grade levels. Most of our kids have had to learn how to cope with either the death of a parent or being abandoned by a parent. Almost all of our kids lived through an earthquake that was a magnitude of 7.0 and watched it destroy their homes, communities, and in some cases families.
Here’s the good news: our kids are strong and resilient. These are the toughest and most capable kids you will ever meet. Rarely do you hear them complaining or using their circumstances as an excuse. Instead, they use their circumstances as a reason to rejoice because they have a home, school, and food to eat. Their attitudes remind me of what the Apostle Paul must have meant when he said “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” Philippians 4:11. This is what our kids do. They are content no matter their circumstances and it is a reminder to me to be the same.