I traveled to Haiti for the first time in April of 2018 to conduct home visits with families that were hopeful about having their child participate in our Nourish Every Child scholar program. Although I have visited many third world countries, I never experienced a culture that was so welcoming and yet so deeply mired in utter poverty. Haiti is a nation rich with pride about its history, yet devoid of consistent basics like clean water. It’s a country rich with natural resources nevertheless crumbling under political economic corruption. It’s a place fueled by familial love, yet strained by fracturing circumstances, crushing poverty and mostly deficient schools.
On the last day on my first trip to Haiti, as I hiked through mud to reach the top of a hill, I met a mother and her five children under a cell phone tower, and this mother struck a chord with me. No matter where they live in the world or how much they are able to give their child - every mother wants to meet the same basic needs for their children. Mothers yearn to provide love and shelter and to be able to feed and educate all their children. Yet, I saw in this one mother’s eyes, a determination that at least one of her children, would receive an education and a nutritious meal EVERY day if accepted in Nourish Every Childs scholar program. She could provide an abundance of love -- that was evident -- and some shelter, but in a country where 1 in 10 die before their 5th birthday, the odds were stacked against her. This mother, this chance encounter mother, had recently lost her husband and was braving parenthood all alone. One of her children with her, “GetLove”, a daughter barely 5 years old, had sweet, plaintive and sad eyes that drew me in. I would never forget those eyes.
So, when I returned home, I showed my 6-year-old son pictures from the trip and when we got to GetLove’s family, he immediately connected with her and was determined that we gather our funds to be able to send her to school. This is when both the Nourish Every Child program and my family personally were tethered to help as a team.
I regularly ask about GetLove and her family with the NEC Haiti crew. I ask them to check in and learn what else we can do to help them. As a mother myself, I never want to see another woman struggle to feed and educate her child. My heart breaks when I hear that she and her children have not eaten in days. They also lack access to clean water and proper clothes that fit. Without clean water or Clorox tabs, their chances of contracting cholera are much greater every time they drink the water or wash clothing or dishes. Living in beautiful California, it is so hard to believe that Bleach is a necessity for survival! While sending precious GetLove to school helps give her a chance in life, I always wonder what more can we do to ease this mother’s burdens – and sometimes I feel crushed by their never ending needs. Then, I am reinvigorated by the famous statement from Mother Theresa; and I believe she said it best: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
So, my family and I continue to do what we can for GetLove in the fervent hope that her future is stronger because of our family ripple effect. You too can feel this same level of connection. Your support helps will ease the daily struggles of young families in a land where most people live on less than $2 a day. Your support will help a deserving child continue their education. Your support will help realize a Mothers dream for her child.
Please consider continuing to donate or begin donating to Nourish Every Child. I assure you that your contributions change lives…for the better.
The GetLove Yasaint Family Blog
by Alison Eastman, NEC Board Secretary and Compass Real Estate Agent