Destination Durham interview
A Well for HELO!
Haiti: A Country Full of Hope, Joy, and Love
By SangJoo ("SJ") Kim
In the past, when someone asked me which country is the best place I have ever been to, I would hesitate and say the Czech Republic. Although the Czech Republic is a beautiful country that I would like to visit again, the Woodstock Academy trip to Haiti in April 2014 shifted my list of favorite countries. This past October, I was excited to be invited to Haiti again and of course, excitedly, I decided to join the team.
Haiti is the most wonderful country that is full of hope, joy, and love. It was completely different from what I had been hearing for 17 years. Especially filled with joy and the best part of my trips, was the HELO orphanage in Les Cayes. HELO, founded by Elisabeth Kennedy and Jean Phares Beaucejour, provides Home, Education, Love, and Opportunity to 54 children as well as a school for more than 90 children.
Every single kid at HELO is surprisingly bright, warm, and loving. They always greet people with kisses and hugs. By the end of the trip, all the team members (Annabel, Amy, Jessica, Erin, and Sara) were exhausted from doing activities like arts and crafts, soccer, singing, and hide and seek. I will never forget the beautiful smiles of each child and their soft voices asking “pote’m” (which means hug or pick me up). Even hearing “chinwa” (which means Chinese) from the kids, who were teasing me since I was struggling to explain that I am Korean!
Waking up every day listening to chickens, goats, and mosquitoes will also stay in my heart, as it is reminder of the beauty of the countryside and of the country’s people. I am hoping that I can go back again soon and I will be looking forward to it.
By Erin Hein
My third trip to Haiti was fantastic! I had a great time with the kids, and enjoyed sharing God’s message of love with them. However, this trip was a little different for me. I saw hardships in Haiti that I had not witnessed before, whether it was because I was too naïve to see them or for other reasons. I saw people walking through piles of burning garbage, trying to find something for themselves and their families to eat. I saw dogs being kicked and beaten. And I saw so much sadness. Despite all of this, I also saw a great deal of joy on the faces of the children at HELO.
When I described what I’ve done and am continuing to do in Haiti with HELO to a friend at college, he asked me why I keep returning year after year to a country with so much poverty and disease. Many people have asked me this same question, and I usually give the simple answer of, “Well, I believe that God is calling me to do his work in Haiti, and I enjoy my time when I’m down there.” My friend continued to ask me, “But why? Why is it important to you? Why do you bother? Couldn’t someone else go in your place?” At first I was taken aback by his questions, and it took me a while to come up with an answer. After describing the hardships that I have seen in Haiti, I’m sure many of you might have the same questions as my friend from school. So, here’s my answer: relationships.
The relationships that I’ve created with the employees, house parents, and especially the children of HELO will last a lifetime and I would not trade them for anything. For example, I have developed a relationship with one of the little boys at HELO, Ricardo, who is eight years old. Every day while I’m in Haiti I try to tell as many of the kids as possible that I love them. One day, while Ricardo was showing me how to hula hoop, I told him that I loved him. He looked a little confused, so I said it again. He asked, “Really?” I said, “Of course I do!” and he ran over and hugged me with the biggest smile on his face! The happiness of these children is why I go back. It’s the whole reason for HELO: to provide a safe and happy place where these children can grow up, when they would otherwise have nowhere. Now in the moment, I didn’t think much of telling Ricardo that I loved him, I just knew that it would make him happy, so I did it. On the last day of our trip Ricardo sat with me on the bus. He asked if we were leaving for the United States, and when I said yes he started crying and cried the entire bus ride. Thinking back on that moment made me realize that I had made an impression on Ricardo, and that the relationship that we share will not go away even though I am so far away. I have similar relationships with most of the children of HELO, and I hope to continue to foster those relationships and support HELO as time goes on. The children of Haiti are precious and deserve our help and love, and I am proud to be among those who are able to go and spread the good news that God loves all his children, and he loves them through the relationships that we create with each other.
Pizza and Bluegrass!
GET YOUR HANDS CLAPPING AND FEET STOMPIN’ FOR A NIGHT OF
HOMEMADE PIZZA & ICE CREAM SOCIAL
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6TH
6 – 9 PM
ADULTS - $12
CHILDREN 12 & UNDER - $10 (3 & UNDER FREE)
MIDDLEFIELD FEDERATED CHURCH HALL
402 Main Street, Middlefield, CT
FEATURING MIDDLEFIELD’S OWN
BILL MINTZ AND HIS BLUEGRASS BAND
HOMEMADE PIZZA BY CHEF DOUG DISCHINO
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