My stomach is still churning as I just put down my phone. As I am nearing 3.5 years of living in Haiti, there are some things that will never get easier…never be less raw and heartbreaking….
As I answered the phone, I heard a familiar voice on the other line start asking questions about registering for school. As he began talking I realized that he was calling on someone else’s behalf. I began by asking my first question I always start with, “Has the child ever been to school?” ….Yes, I heard the other side of the phone peep out hesitantly. Then I asked what grade the child was and how old…as he struggled to ask the questions, he explained that he was actually not sure if the child had been to school ever and was in fact calling because someone else asked him to see if there was space in our school.
He began explaining the situation and my heart skipped a beat as I heard him say, “Well he is borrowing this child.”
Borrowing this child? I so badly wanted to go on a rant about how awful what he said just was, but then again I remembered he was calling for someone else, and regardless I still needed the information about the child.
My heartbeat sped up as I mulled this over in my head. Call it whatever you want, keeping a child for a while…being “given” a child…borrowing a child.
Whatever you call it, It’s still slavery.
Whatever you call it, It’s still servitude.
Whatever you call it, this sweet girl is still a restavek.
As I pushed down all of my righteous anger and frustration. I answered back as composed as I could, Yes we have space.
I asked him to send me the child’s name, age and where she lives. He agreed to do so quickly.
I hung up the phone and slunk to the ground.
This never get’s easier. Fighting for children, ALL children…borrowed or not….to go to school is exhausting. Fighting for Haitians to realize that a child NOT going to school and fetching water all day, doing laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning…is child Slavery, Domestic Servitude.
But Praise GOD that He has given us all of the courage, strength and persistence we need for this. Praise GOD that He began Respire Haiti Christian School and that because of His vision for Gressier and Bellevue Mountain that HUNDREDS of children like this are being educated but most importantly learning that they are WORTH being fed, loved and cared for.
Please keep praying for us as we continue organizing things for the upcoming school year.