A plate of bones

This week, Cross was visited by the resource manager of a Christian orphanage we have been working with to provide earthquake relief and recovery in Haiti. Nathalie Amyotte shared a personal story that painted a vivid picture of Haitian poverty and the life-saving work of the orphanage.

Jamesley (center) and two of his brothers getting a physical at a Cross-supported orphanage.

One night, as Nathalie was getting something to eat, she saw children on the street begging for food. They were calling to her by name – “Madame Nathalie! Madame Nathalie!” – because she often helped the children in town. But this time, something was different.

“There was one child who was apart from them and he wasn’t begging and he wasn’t asking for anything,” Nathalie said. The boy was holding a plate of old chicken bones, and she realized he had collected them because he had nothing else to eat. Suddenly, another child bumped into the plate and knocked it over, scattering the bones across the ground. The boy raised his voice and cried as if grief-stricken.

“His cry will stay with me my whole life. It haunts me. Because his little chicken bones had been thrown to the ground and that is the only meal he was going to have that day,” Nathalie said. “I went to see him because I heard this cry. He was trying to wipe the dirt off his little chicken bones. And I said, ‘No, no – let’s go eat.’”

After feeding the boy, whose name was Jamesley, Nathalie visited his home. She learned that his mother was pregnant with her eighth child and about to get kicked out of her home. That very day, the orphanage gave the family money for food, paid for a year’s rent so they wouldn’t get kicked out, and agreed to take in Jamesley and one of his brothers. Now the boys are going to school and eating three meals a day.

The immediacy of the response is typical of this southern Haitian orphanage that has done so much to help the needy in the aftermath of the January earthquake, whether by taking in new children, sending food to displaced families, or even working with a local hospital. We are proud to support this great ministry as it spreads Christ’s love to the poorest of the poor!

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