Meeting Mantha for the first time was the highlight of trip!
We found our sponsored child up in the mountains! We traveled a long way up treacherous, rocky, bumpy roads to get to her school, Boucan Moran. Even though the journey was dangerous it was breathtaking. We wanted to explore further from what we could see from the truck. It was like going back to Bible times in this remote and primitive land. It was a beautiful land where these Haitians lived and somewhere in these mountains our sponsored child lived. All we remember of her was an older picture that we had when she was about 10 years old. Now she was about high school age. Will we recognize her? Will she know who we are if we mention our names? Will she even like us? Lots of questions entered our mind, but we were excited to finally meet her face to face!
The girls were waiting for school to start. The younger classes used the rooms in the morning.
We pulled up the steep hill into a school where a group of girls were sitting under a tree. Could one of those girls be Mantha? As I looked, two of them sort of looked like the picture. But Mike said he knew which one was her. He jumped out of the car and approached her. He said her name, “Mantha.” She responded back, “Wi” (yes). Mike mentioned the word “sponsor” and our daughter’s name, “Trinity”, and showed her a picture of our family. She got it right away! (And they knew we were coming.) I came behind him to meet her. She was so happy to meet us! It was an exciting time. She was a beautiful girl and had changed from that little girl to a young lady of 17. We gave her a bag of goodies. Extra gifts are like love gifts to them that go a long way. She looked inside and she seemed to like what she saw. She said, “thank you” in English. Thankfully we had a translator so we could communicate with her. She said her mother was still very sick and she lived with her grandma, just like she had written in her letters.
Rocket balloons are a hit at any age!
Since we couldn’t speak the language with these group of young people we decided to pull out some fun with rocket balloons. Mantha wasn’t sure of this balloon thing until the rest of the group got more excited about them. A dozen kids lined up with their balloons, including Mantha, and let them go at the same time. What a sight of color and sound! It was a hit! Mantha was so excited about the whole thing that she came over and gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you so much” in English. She was pleased! Later, she put her hand around my waist (and I put mine around hers) and she took me to see her classroom. All the kids were already waiting for the class to begin. She sat down with her peers and there was a sea of faces looking at me. I smiled and pulled out of my bag a cartoon gospel tract for each one, and then quietly left while they were reading them.
Two fish and a white yam were offered to each of us, and then finished off by the girls!
The directors of this school made us a meal from what little they had. It was very humbling considering that they might not have much to eat themselves. The meal consisted of 2 grilled fish with the heads and tails still on in a red spicy sauce, a large white yam, fresh avocado, and delicious fruit juice. The juice was the best part! We tried to eat the fish but couldn’t get used to all the many tiny bones. At home we had been reminded to leave some of what we were offered for the Haitians to finish, and this was the perfect opportunity! Little did I know what would happen next. Into the room walks our sponsored child with her two friends and it was suggested that I offer the rest of my plate to her. I was a little nervous about that. I went up to her and offered it to her. She willingly took it. Mike and Tim Butikofer then offered their plates to her two friends. Those girls all sat down to eat and were so thankful for our leftovers! I served them all fruit drinks while they were eating. They cleaned everything off of those plates! It was very humbling.
In front of Mantha’s school at Boucan Moran
The last memory I have of this sweet young girl was when she took my hand and we walked together to the car. She showed so much love in our short time together. It was hard to believe this was happening. It was like a rare dream to meet our sponsored child way up in the mountains of Haiti! What a God we serve, who brought us together that day! I tried to tell her that I loved her in Creole. I gave her one more hug before I hopped in the car. Mantha said, “I would like to live with her forever, she is so nice!” I was stunned. The last words I said to her, “I would take you as my own.” It was a very touching moment.
The kids watched us as we drove away, and I threw bouncing balls out the window. It was an awesome sight to see these boys chasing down these balls with excitement. It was a great experience that we will never forget – the day we met our sponsored child! We didn’t realize enough, until that day, the HUGE impact that a sponsor has in a child’s life (and her family and her school). What a difference we can make! It was so easy to write a check every month and forget it actually would reach someone with a real need who was so appreciative! As we finally met our own sponsored child and many faces of other sponsored children, you realize that each one is valuable, uniquely special in God’s eyes, fearfully and wonderfully made by Him.