A Fork in the Road

A Fork in the Road

By: Ephraim Lindor in Haiti, with Brandy Campbell   |   Posted: August 29, 2007

Joseph Abbel's life took a dramatic change when his parents discovered the John Wesley Child Development Center. Joseph is now preparing to complete his business degree through the Leadership Development Program.

Each evening, Joseph Abbel's father came home exhausted. His job as a tire repairman left his hands stained with grease. His back and knees ached after a long day kneeling on the ground. But he was one of the optimistic ones. He had a job.

Where Will Life Lead?

In the squatter town of Solino, where Joseph lives, 90 percent of adults are unemployed. While Joseph's father made less than U.S.$5 a day, it was still far more than most of his neighbors brought home. However, he rarely found pride in his work. Repairing tires for wealthy residents only reminded him of the things he couldn't provide for his own family things like a sturdy home, nutritious food and an education for his five children.

Joseph was the middle child of five children. His two older brothers had already been forced to drop out of school to help support the family, and the time was coming for Joseph's parents to make the decision about his future. Joseph knew that if he dropped out of school, he would have no chance for his dream of attending college. He would join his father and brothers in the tire yard, and he would never be able to scrub the smell of tires from his skin.

A Different Future

Then Joseph's parents heard about the John Wesley Child Development Center (HA-355), a Compassion-assisted center in the nearby community of Delmas. Joseph and his parents were relieved to learn that his sponsor would cover the cost of his education. Finally, they allowed themselves to dream of a better future for one of their children.

Joseph's future was not just different it was unheard of. The extra tutoring and assistance he received at the center gave him the added support he needed. He became one of just 7 percent of students in Delmas to graduate from high school and the first in his family. The ridicule he had faced as a child as other children mocked his ill-fitting clothes and dilapidated house turned into admiration, and young Joseph became a role model.

"Compassion taught me to value myself," says Joseph. "Once I became a Christian, I learned that I did not need to feel inferior."

A Life-Changing Decision

After graduating from high school, Joseph was accepted into Compassion's Leadership Development Program. He now attends college and continues to serve at the center and church where he accepted Christ. "Without Compassion, I would not be where I am now," Joseph says. "I would have never graduated from school. I probably would have ended up in a gang. But now, I am attending one of the best private universities in Haiti. In one more year, I will complete my business management program. Compassion has impacted my life in every way."

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