Did You Know! (Part 1)
The House of Hope is NOT an orphanage! Yes, you read that right. A lot of people call us that, but it is not what we are. Perhaps the reason they do so is that the uniqueness of the HOH ministry makes it hard to describe, and the word orphanage is a term everyone can relate to quickly. So, if we are not an orphanage, what are we?
The HOH ministry can be divided into 3 categories focusing on the needs of children and youth in our area of Haiti. The 3 categories are: medical service, foster care, and community outreach. We will look at the medical category today and the others in future blog posts.
Caring for the medical needs of children and youth is the main ministry of the HOH. The kids who are in our home almost always start out in this category. As our partnering hospital (Beraca Medical Center) has kids who come through their clinics who need the services of the HOH, they send them on to us.
While we will take children who have other issues as well, our two biggest medical issues at the HOH are severe malnutrition and tuberculosis. These children stay at the HOH for as long as they need treatments. This can range from a couple of weeks to a couple of years, and then they return to their homes. Occasionally, things to do not work out this way and those kids fall into another category that we will address later.
You might wonder why these children aren’t just admitted to the hospital to receive their care. There are several reasons, the main one being that their parents are not able to afford it. Hospital care is not free and most of the children who come to the HOH come from families who are extremely poor. Bringing the children to the clinic is usually their very last option after they have tried everything else, from home remedies to witchdoctors to try and heal their children. Not only does this mean the children are almost always in very grave condition when they arrive, but also that the families don’t have the means to have them admitted to the hospital.
Another reason is that the children often need long-term treatments, they are not something that will take just a day or two. This would mean they would have to stay with the child at the hospital for significant period. The potential loss of income, the remaining kids at home to look after as well as the cost of caring for their own needs while away from home make a hospital stay all but impossible for most people in our area of Haiti.
This makes the HOH a vital option for them. They can leave their kids here to receive treatment and come to see them whenever they are able to. While we do request that families help us cover the costs of caring for their child in any way they can, most are not able to do much. Some might give a small gift of food from their garden when they come visit, but they usually don’t have much by way of funds. The support we receive from people such as yourselves cover the costs of caring for the medical and physical needs of these kids.
For the youngest babies and those kids who are extremely ill we do ask a family member (the mom if possible) to stay with the child for the first little while. We especially request this for the children who are malnourished. During their time with us, the moms have the chance to learn the proper foods to feed their children. Then, when they go back home, they can make better choices to help the child continue to be healthy.
For the kids who will be with us for months or even years, the family doesn’t stay; but they are welcome to come back and visit the kids at any time. Some of the common cases that require the kids to stick around for longer periods of time are: diabetes, tuberculosis, sickle-cell anemia, loss of a limb, hemophilia, mental disabilities and illnesses that are difficult to diagnose.
While they are with us, the kids receive their medical care, food, and other necessities. We have school classes for them right at the HOH to help them keep up with their studies, or as is the case for some of the kids, to have a start with any kind of schooling. They also take part in all the HOH Bible studies, family devotions and church services. It is our desire that every child and youth who comes through our home would hear about and come to know the Father God who loves them and His Son who came to save them and give them a new life, and also the Holy Spirit who will live in them and guide them.
Recently the kids have been learning the song “Jesus loves me”. A friend asked us to record them singing it in Kreyòl. The translation he sent us was different then what we had known in the past, so Linda took time to teach the kids both the English and the Kreyòl versions. Here they are singing it!
We are so thankful for the support you give us in so many ways. Things in Haiti are often difficult, but over the past few months they have reached a new high. The exchange rate from US dollars to Haitian gourdes has plummeted almost 40% in the past month. The prices for everything however, including food, has remained at the price it was when the rate was high. This is making things incredibly difficult for everyone and we are feeling it hard as well. It is as if our support has been cut by 40% in the matter of just weeks.
This service of providing for the medical and physical needs of children in our area of Haiti is so important, especially now as things are tougher than ever. But we aren’t able to do it without your help. We know things are tough all over right now and if you aren’t able to help us out at this time of need, we totally understand. But we also know that God always provides for our needs and He does so through partners like you. If you can help us at this time, we would really appreciate your doing so and you can give by following this link. We pray for your faith to be strengthened, like ours has been, as we continue to minister together during this time and where God has placed us.