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Today we are going to get back to our old series about our kids’ futures. You may remember that last year we sat down with each of our kids, young and old, to talk with them about their hopes and dreams and what they want to become as adults. If you missed our last “Future Blogs,” just click on a name (Herbison, Woodly, Yolmenda, Apolon, Babyson). Today I want to share with you about Tony.
I remember thinking through these questions as a teenager with hope-filled anticipation about where my life might end up. I ultimately decided to attend Georgia Tech to become an environmental engineer, and ended up being a pastor and a missionary. As Americans we can dream, plan, and work towards a variety of goals that are truly achievable, and as a high school student I remember being ready to see what might come next.
To put it bluntly, it is not the same here.
Meeting with our older kids does not bring out the hope and the joy that was present when I was their age getting ready to go to college and ultimately into a career. How could it? In a country where unemployment is unimaginable, inflation is astronomical, and the jobs that are available do not pay enough to take care of a family…Hope and joy for the future is hard to come by. We are trying to change that for our kids with a variety of initiatives that will help them along their employment path. The truth is, thanks to our supporters, and at least in the area of employment, our kids have a leg up. They have people thinking with them, praying for them, and ultimately trying to create opportunities for their lives.
When we sat down with Tony, he was clearly uncomfortable at first, but that is kind of just him. He shared with us that he wanted to finish school which he will be able to do at the age of around 24. He then said he wanted to be either an agronomist or work in masonry. I immediately thought he could do either well, but you could tell he was holding something back also.
We talked a little more about how he would accomplish those 2 goals and it was clear that he thought these things were possible but that he had something else on his mind also. Finally, he told us what he really wanted to do. He really wants to be a pilot. When he finally told us this, you could see a big smile come across his face, but it was also clear that he did not think this was at all possible. He has met one pilot in his life, Bill Kleisch, who is from LaGrange. He has never met a Haitian pilot and has never heard of any Haitian going to school to learn how to fly. There is no Haitian Air Force (or even army for that matter) where he could learn to fly. This was, to him, clearly just an unreachable dream.
The truth is, Tony is smart enough and has the work ethic to become whatever he wants to be. He is a really good kid that will do whatever you ask him to do. I remember going to the market with him to buy shoes and every other kid was just paying whatever price was asked of the shoes they wanted…But not Tony. He, and I mean this very literally, spent at least 3 hours negotiating the price of the shoes he really wanted. He got these Timberland boots that the seller was asking 4,000HTG (about $60 at the time) for 1,200HTG (about $20). He would ask for that price, they would say no, and he would just walk around the market for a little while making sure the guy saw him shopping. In the end, when I was about to get irritated with him for not making a decision, Tony some how got those shoes for the exact price he wanted. It was really impressive.
I am not sure what Tony will end up being, but I would definitely not bet against him in whatever he chooses. His intelligence, his disposition, and his drive when he really wants something will help him achieve the goals that he sets. Our job will be to continue to push him, to not let him get discouraged or lazy if things do not happen quickly, and most importantly to pray for him that he follows Jesus Christ no matter what.