The Dark Side of Haitian Orphanages Part 2
It is still difficult to get a real understanding of how Covid-19 is affecting Haiti. All I can say right now is continue to pray. According to "official stats" there have been around 90 cases, 9 deaths, and 10 recoveries in the country. Read our last update to get a better idea of the situation on the ground, and pray that things do not get worse!
The most recent All Things New blog was about the "Dark Side of Orphanages in Haiti." The basic truth is that most (and I do emphasize the word "most") orphanages in Haiti are very poorly run and are nothing more than a way for morally corrupt men and women to take advantage of children. There is an "orphanage business" in Haiti that rips children out of their families for the promise of a better life. But this life never comes.
In the coming weeks we are going to talk about some of the real issues and problems that exist in orphan ministry and with orphanages specifically. Like many things in life, these problems stir up deep emotions in people. Whenever children are taken advantage of, our first instinct should be to protect and care for them.
The beginning of All Things New is found in one of these situations. To make a very long story short, we met the majority of our kids when they were living together in a very difficult place. The man and woman who ran the orphanage were not doing so with pure motives. One day soon, it might be good to write out these stories and share them with our new supporters. But not today.
I share this with you because we have seen firsthand what a poorly-run, corrupt orphanage looks like. In fact, there was a time when we were no longer welcomed at the orphanage and we thought we were going to be run out of Haiti. Obviously that did not happen.
What we did learn, however, is that throwing money at a problem will probably not fix it. We thought that if we could get money down to Haiti and to the couple running the orphanage then things would be ok. Our kids would eat, go to school, and get cared for on a consistent basis. Here is what actually happened:
- When we started sending money down, they needed more every week.
- When we started buying food instead of sending money, food started disappearing.
- A moto that we purchased for the leader of the orphanage ended up in a local "pawn shop."
- Our kids were constantly being sent home from school for not paying.
- They never had the books they needed no matter how much money we sent.
- A local organization started sending us chickens...They went missing.
- We started using more charcoal every week than an orphanage 10 times our size should have used in a month.
Many more things like this happened and when we moved down to Haiti, we started calling them out on it. The couple then called IBESR (basically the Department of Children and Families) who told us that we needed to start giving the money back to the couple. Over time, when the couple saw that we were not giving them all of the money, though we were paying them a good monthly wage, they turned the community against us.
To make another really long story short, we got our kids out. We moved them to a new place where we could control the money, hire trustworthy and good employees, and in general be in charge of their care. That usually does not happen, the corrupt (at least in Haiti) usually win. GOD was with us for sure.
This story sets up the rest of this series about the dark side of Haitian orphanages. It is there and it is very prevalent. I wanted all of you to know that we have some experience in this. We got our kids out of a place that was terrible and into a place where they are loved and care for. To hear some of their stories from their old orphanage, and to know that the ones that they don't tell are much worse is a very difficult thing. But it is really important to talk about this side of orphan ministry and to do our best to make sure it does not happen to other kids. Stay tuned for some more blogs in this series coming up.