An Oasis in a Barren Land

An Oasis in a Barren Land

By: Janet Root, Contributing Writer   |   Posted: May 17, 2005

Child Sponsorship Refreshes Haitian Island Community

With the financial and emotional support of her sponsors, Yvette Esperat delights in her completion of elementary school.

If Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, then La Gonⶥ must be the hemisphere's most destitute island.

Just off the western coast of Haiti, the island of La Gonⶥ has no paved roads, electricity or a water system, thanks to political corruption. Historically, the island's leaders have pocketed the money intended for the struggling island's development. In the midst of this desolation is an oasis  the Compassion-assisted Plaine Mapou Child Development Center (HA-219).

Plaine Mapou's Oasis

The dusty, mountainous farming community of Plaine Mapou exemplifies the bleak existence of La Gonⶥ inhabitants. Unemployment is at 90 percent in this community of 7,000. And a lengthy dry spell has shrunk the community's water supply. Yet even with such despair, children sew and play music and families receive food and clothing due to the vision of Pastor Paul Delicieux, administrator of the Plaine Mapou Child Development Center.

"Compassion International as a joint venture with us is very optimal," Delicieux says. "(We thank) Compassion for the projects that we have undertaken in this area. We have crafts in progress. We have home economics. We have music training. All these have been made possible through Compassion and through God's grace. Our praise is that we stay together to continue the work."

Sponsorship Offers Refreshment to a Barren Community

While most people may look at Plaine Mapou and see desolation, Rev. Delicieux looks at his community and envisions a better future  a nearby hospital, children getting meals five days a week, enough water for all the families and a better place for children to live. He looks to the community's children to build this future.

"In our Haitian proverb they say, 'Children today, adults tomorrow,'" Rev. Delicieux says. "So it is a must for us to train the children because they will be the ones to replace us when we leave this earth."

One of those keys to the future is 16-year-old Yvette Esperat.

Yvette's Goal

Yvette is a recent graduate of the Plaine Mapou Child Development Center. She is among the 6 percent of people in her community to attend secondary school. She credits her success to her sponsors.

"I've been so encouraged by my sponsors' letters," says Yvette. "They have supported me 100 percent in my academic studies. I especially remember that when I failed the national test that's required to pass sixth grade, I asked them to pray for me. They wrote back to tell me that they were. It meant so much to me. When I took the test again, I succeeded in my exam!"

This beautiful young girl with a shy smile also has big plans.

"I want to become a nurse," Yvette says, smiling. "I want to help my family when they need some medical attention. At the same time, I can volunteer in my community. I don't think they should have to pay me for my help."

Looking at Yvette's success, it's no wonder Pastor Paul's Plaine Mapou church, which began with nine attendees in 1977, now has 1,000 members.

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