Over the past year during our time in Haiti, we have identified several needs for the orphanage and are now trying to meet them. One of the biggest has been a person to help with the laundry. In case you are not aware, laundry is done by hand in Haiti, hung to dry, then ironed using an iron filled with hot charcoal. This is something that for the most part our kids have done on their own. It is a hard and intense job and something we wanted to take off of their plate this school year. It is also something that Rosie, the woman who lives at the orphanage has several times asked us for help with.
So, last week, we put the word out that we need someone and that same day a woman named Giselle showed up at the orphanage. She sat down with Matt and told him she heard we had a job and she was desperately in need of one. She told us she lives in Port au Prince but would pack her things and move here if it meant work. We told her we would get back with her. We talked about it with Audancin, the man who lives at the orphanage and he agreed this would be a great thing for the orphanage and also said that he liked her. We decided to work on a contract, hire a translator to help, and bring her in for an interview. We called Giselle and asked her to please come the following day. Giselle was scheduled to arrive at the orphanage at 10:00am so at about 8:30 that morning we sat down with Rosie and Audancin to discuss what Giselle’s job would include and get their input. Rosie immediately got defensive. To sum it up, Rosie told us if we had extra money it should go to her and not to a laundry person. She told us she would continue to do the laundry and that we should just pay her more. The sad fact is that the majority of the time Rosie does not do the laundry and the kids do. We spent the next hour going round and round with Rosie trying to explain how hard the laundry is for the kids and how this is what is best for the kids and she continued to tell us that if there was any extra money, it should go to her. We finally concluded that if Rosie was not on board with hiring Giselle, we could not do it.
We tried to call Giselle before she made the drive in from Port au Prince but were too late. About 15 minutes later, Giselle came to the orphanage. We asked her to come back to Christianville with us so we could sit down with a translator (who we already had coming to help with the interview) and explain the situation. We got back to Christianville and as delicately as possible tried to explain to Giselle why we could no longer hire her. She proceeded to tell us she had packed all of her belongings to move from Port au Prince for the job….I know to some of us Americans reading this it will sound funny and we will think she jumped the gun with packing her belongings but even the possibility of a job here will make people move. Sony, our translator, explained to her the situation and promised that if anything changed we would call her. I sat at our table across from Giselle and watched her try so hard to keep the tears from falling. For a few hours, we had given Giselle something that is not easy to come by here…hope. The worst part is, we very quickly took that hope away and watched as Giselle realized it.
Sitting across from Giselle and watching the hope that was previously there fade away was one of the worst moments I have had here in Haiti. Jobs here are not an easy thing to come by. We have in the last year been able to hire a cook for the orphanage and with every chance she gets she thanks me for her job (and it is not an easy one for a variety of reasons…trust me). She has even gone so far as to tell me we are the answers to her prayers and she is now able to take care of her children. Giselle started that day with the thought that this was about to happen with her and ended it knowing she was still unemployed. We took the hope she had right away from her.
Over the next few days Matt and I prayed hard that God would work this situation out knowing that hiring Giselle would be what is best for the orphanage. We talked with Audancin and asked him to please try to get Rosie to come around to it. Trust me when I say you would be reading this all day if I included everything that happened but the short version is that Rosie realized her mistake and agreed to us hiring Giselle. We called Giselle again and asked her to please come one more time to talk with us and Audancin and Rosie. I am fairly certain that by now she must have been thinking we are crazy Americans and I couldn’t blame her.
We sat down with Giselle yesterday, went over her contract, let her ask questions, and officially hired her. She will start today. During the interview, we told her we would like her to please wash each child’s uniform 2 times a week as well as 1 church outfit. She then asked would we be mad if she did extra things when she was done…like help around the orphanage or braid the girls hair. Giselle was so desperate for a job and so filled with hope at the thought of one that she is willing to do anything we asked of her. God reminds me every day that we are here, in all kinds of ways, what it means to find my hope and trust in Him. He used Giselle to show me that for many people this means something completely different. Yes my hope and trust is in Him but I can also find myself placing my hope and trust in other things because I don’t always have to hope only in Him. Giselle’s only hope for a future for her and her family is to trust in Christ and know that He will take care of her day to day needs. By day to day needs I mean food and shelter because at one point during the interview she asked us if she could sleep at the orphanage (we said no since we barely know her) and if we could start giving her some food (we said yes). I have no idea what it means to hope in Christ for these day-to-day needs because they have always been met for me. I am so thankful that this Giselle story has a happy ending and I am so thankful that God used her to remind what it means to have hope in Him.