I sit on the rooftop of the guest house in Haiti, my coffee mug warm in my hands, the sky becoming a canvas of soft pastel colors as night gives way to morning. Alone on the roof, I am observer but unobserved, unnoticed and apart from the dailiness of Haitian life that unfolds below me...the gate guard patrolling his post across the driveway, the truck driver maneuvering the potholes on the street below, the teenage boy brushing his teeth as he emerges from his small concrete block home, the gray haired woman bent sideways from the weight of carrying the large, ten-gallon bucket of water for her family's morning needs. I listen to the sounds of Haiti ...the constant, unremitting crowing of countless roosters and the endless barking of multiple dogs that continues night and day...the impatient cacophony of horns sounded by every tap-tap, car and truck on the road, as they fight for the advantage in the crazy traffic that is Port-au-Prince, alongside the gunning of motorcycle engines that weave in, out and around all. I am aware of the faint, underlying smell of the gasoline fumes intermingled with the smell of charcoal burning.
But, what captures my attention and tugs at my heart is the sight of little girls in clean, navy school uniforms with crisp white hair bows in their braids, walking below me, walking past piles of rubbish on rough, unpaved roads. I am moved by the thought of their mama's efforts to get them ready for school that day...most of them without electricity, without running water, probably without food for breakfast, without any assurance that this school term won't be the last they will be able to attend. Mamas who are all too aware that their daughters are at high risk of rape, of pregnancy before they are out of their teens, of either dying in childbirth or of having to surrender their babies to an orphanage because they can't afford to feed them, of being physically abused by the men in their lives...all because they were born in the dysfunctional, most poverty stricken country in the Western Hemisphere. This beautiful, wounded country where massive amounts of aid money has failed to make any discernible difference in the welfare of the majority of its citizens, its women, its daughters.
What a triumph of hope over circumstances is represented in those white bows.
It is as a purveyor of hope that I am in Haiti, here with other representatives of Trades of Hope, a company started to provide opportunities for women like these, for girls like these. We aren't just selling necklaces and earrings and scarves, we are selling hope for a better life for our artisans and their children and their communities. I sip my coffee and follow the progress of the little girls walking to school below, deeply thankful for the privilege I have been given to spread hope.
Weeks later, I see a film, Girl Rising (http://girlrising.com) a powerful, stirring look at the importance of educating girls, and the disturbing statistics about how dangerous and difficult it is to be a girl in most of the world. And I remember the school girls of Haiti, the mamas who face impossible odds to give their daughters a future that is bright, that is filled with hope and opportunity.
I remember why I started this blog, to encourage women to dream a new dream for their lives....
to hear God's heart for each of us to change the world for one person...
to make choices that deliberately do good and do not contribute to doing harm...
to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves..
to become involved for the rights of the oppressed.
I feel the passion to make women understand that we are blessed to be a blessing.
One of the most powerful ways to change the world for one is through child sponsorship---enabling a girl to attend school impacts not only the girl's life now, but her future health and wealth, the lives of her future children and even her entire community!
For about $1.00 a day you can be a world changer for one girl...how little to change a world!
Your choice of country: www.Compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act."