Saturday, June 19, 2010

Haiti Q & A: Why Gramothe, Haiti?

Q. Why are you moving to Gramothe, Haiti?

A. The short answer is God has called me there. If I were to choose a place to live overseas, it would be a Spanish speaking urban area with a good public transportation system. On my own, I would never choose to live in a place that is frequently hit by hurricanes and apparently also experiences earthquakes. The desire I have to move to Gramothe, a small mountain village outside of Port au Prince, is completely unnatural. I can only attribute the peace I have about this move to the Lord.

Over the last year I have become more aware of this thing called human trafficking. I've joined some friends in the Michiana area to raise awareness about its existence. In my research I've learned that Haiti has a serious human trafficking problem. Even before the earthquake, extreme poverty forced parents in rural Haiti to send their children to strangers who promised their children a better life. The problem is that not all of those strangers kept their end of the bargain--an estimated 300,000 Haitian children are what we would call slaves. "The name for these children in Haiti is restav├Ęk, a Creole word that comes from the French reste avec, "stay with," but has evolved to become a general slur meaning worthless." (Marian Wright Edelman)

One way to fight against human trafficking is to prevent it from happening in the first place. In Haiti preventing rural children from becoming victims of human traffickin is pretty simple: education. Providing free education to the children in rural villages allows them to build skills they can use to get a real job. Throwing in a free meal while the kids are at school helps them focus on their school work and helps their parents use their meager finances for other needs. By helping the students in Gramothe learn English, I'll be giving them invaluable skills and preventing those students from experiencing the evils of human trafficking.

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