New roof, new life in Haiti

By Steve Spellman

I laughed as I watched the little boy’s mother jump into Anne-Marie’s arms.

Anne-Marie Johnson is part of our GlobalFingerprints Haiti leadership team and had come to visit the boy’s home. Anne-Marie had never met the child before. She had never met the mother before. She had never been to this home before. So what was it that caused this mother to almost knock Anne-Marie to the ground at first sight?

Some three months before, a family in the United States began sponsoring the boy through the GlobalFingerprints program. Two weeks later, the boy’s Haitian supervisor, Evans, visited him for the first time. Per his monthly routine, Evans evaluated the boy’s medical, nutritional, educational, spiritual, and general living situation. By the end of that day, he was talking to the Haitian leadership team about the unique and urgent need in the boy’s home.

Evans knew something was seriously wrong the minute he walked into the home. Yes, the family is very poor and lives in a tiny two-room house in one of Port au Prince’s slums. But that was not the issue. The issue was that he could see the sky through the numerous holes in the tin roof. The mother later told Evans that during the rainy season, the family passed many a night standing up in a corner of the room because their bed (a moldy cushion on the floor) would be underwater.

The cost for the repair was only $400, but that this six months’ salary for most Haitians.

Our Haitian team immediately allocated money for the roof repair from their emergency fund. At the same time, the program was given a one-time gift of $150 from a church in Chile. Within two weeks, materials were delivered. Soon afterward, a construction worker, the Haitian head of GlobalFingerprints, and the mom worked together to remove the old tin and wood slats and replace them with a whole new structure.

The mother had no idea that this would be part of the program’s commitment to her child. And so on this day, Anne-Marie had the joy of virtually being tackled by a thankful mother — a mom who was able to sleep through last night’s rain storm safe and dry for the first time in years.

P.S. The GlobalFingerprints Haitian team should have that moldy cushion issue solved by the end of this month!

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