501(c)3 Non-Profit | Empowering Haitian Families

Dancing and Singing

I had an emotional catharsis with a business planner today. weird.
Talking about business strategy and crying my eyes out over death and destruction do not normally go hand in hand but it is somehow to be expected here.
As I was leaving the Apparent Project house afterwards, an old man approached me. “shelley, I’m hungry”. He patted his stomach.
I squinted my eyes and remembered yesterday. I had been walking up from Clerville and this same elderly man had approached me with the same need. I can’t give to everyone in Haiti who is hungry. It would be impossible. So i made a joke with him about stealing crackers from the local cracker vender while nobody was looking and we both laughed and went on our way.
Today was different. Two days in a row and still hungry.
I reminded him about my joke about stealing crackers. He laughed and reminded me that he wasn’t a thief and was not about to go steal crackers.
I somberly looked at him and said, “why don’t you work?” The answer I hear all to often came forth. “I can’t find work”. I asked him… “well what can you do?”.
“I’m too old to do anything.”. Probably true. What’s an illerate aging man going to do in the hot sun all day.
He says again. “I’m not a thief, but I need to eat.”
I replied. “To refuse to work, but expect people to give you everything is thievery.” This may sound harsh, but unless you live in Haiti or a similar situation, you can’t fully understand the truth of this. We know that without the dignity of work, charity is often given in vain and wasted.
So what work can this man do?
I asked him half jokingly. Can you dance?
“wi! m kapab danse”.. of course he can dance.
He stood there awkwardly for a second.
“Can you sing?”
Two seconds of silence and a song broke forth.
It was the cutest 45 seconds of pure bliss. This sixty something starving man is standing by the side of the road singing his best kompa and leaving it all out on the dance floor. The neighbors all peeked their heads out the window to look, everyone starting smiling and laughing.
I payed him 250 Gds for his excellent entertainment and got in the car.
Corrigan looked at me and said… “now that was so much more gratifying that just handing it out”. I hope it made his day as much as he made mine. And I hope his belly is finally full tonight. And I hope that someday Haiti can be a place where more than 10% enjoy the dignity of a job.

3 Comments
  1. I wonder if you know how incredibly inspiring your words are to me. You teach me how to love and respect more every single day.

  2. Rhyan said it the best but I'll say it again, you, your family, your stories and the ministry and kingdom building you are doing is full of inspiration and hope. You are the hands, feet and body of Christ. All of you and Haiti remain in my prayers.

  3. This was the sweetest story!!!!

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