“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
It’s a standard question I like to ask when meeting children at Cross-sponsored schools. You never know what their answer is going to be: teacher, doctor, policeman, engineer, farmer, pastor, even race car driver.
A couple weeks ago in Haiti, I posed the question to 12-year-old Rosemy Clovus. After my translator repeated the question in Creole, the shy student looked up at us as if we had antennae growing on our heads.
My translator got more specific: “Do you want to be a doctor, or maybe a lawyer?”
The girl’s confusion deepened. Not only was she unaccustomed to thinking about her future – she didn’t even know what a “doctor” or “lawyer” was!
Though almost a teenager, Rosemy just recently started going to school and is only in 1st grade. She has been held back, not because of a learning disability or behavioral problems, but simply because her parents are too poor to give her an education. She comes from an impoverished rural community where families must often choose the lesser of two evils: send their kids to school and go hungry, or forego an education but be able to put a little food on the table.
Rosemy’s parents would still be keeping her at home if not for the low-cost education and free daily meals provided at the Divine Shelter School in Duval. To take advantage of the opportunity, Rosemy was sent to live with family friends who are slightly better off economically than her parents and who live nearby the school.
Though humble in appearance (all the classes meet in the same one-room building that doubles as a church sanctuary), the school is a valuable asset to the local community. Children from deeply impoverished families are learning to read and write while studying God’s Word and getting the nutrition they desperately need. This school is just one of 18 Divine Shelter Schools throughout Haiti that are currently receiving support from Cross.
Hopefully as Rosemy advances, for the first time in her life she will be able to dream of a better future. She will see the possibility of a life beyond the hand-to-mouth existence she was raised in, and she will rest secure in the love of her Heavenly Father who meets all our needs.