It was the most remote place I’ve ever been. On my recent trip to Haiti, we traveled from the city of Les Cayes to visit students at the Cross-sponsored Calvary Baptist Church (CBC) school in rural Bainet. The journey took five hours by car—over red dirt roads, white rocky roads and seemingly impassable roads that crossed through flowing rivers and deep ravines. As we made our way to our mountain destination, I watched as the palm trees and turquoise waters of the city gently gave way to rolling hills and fields of corn. As we climbed ever closer, the narrow one-way lane was suddenly flanked by steep drop-offs. When it turned into nothing more than a footpath we knew we were there.
CBC schools educate the poorest of the poor, often in extremely remote and underserved areas. And the school in Bainet is the definition of rural. Without many homes in sight, it’s hard to imagine where the 100 students come from. Nonetheless, they arrive at school eager to learn and thankful for the daily meals provided by Cross.
Cross is also in the process of building them a brand-new school because the teachers and students currently meet in a lean-to structure with three walls made of rusted tin. Open to the elements, the rooms only hold a chalkboard and a few warped wooden benches.
But the conditions don’t bother Sougene, an always-smiling 13-year-old fifth grader who stole my heart. He says he loves school because he learns about the life of Jesus and his studies will provide him with opportunities that he never thought he would have.
Sougene comes from a very poor family. His father passed away a few years ago and he now lives with his stepmother. Times are difficult, and often, he does not eat three meals per day.
That’s why the food he receives at school is so important. It keeps his mind and body strong so he will one day achieve his dream of becoming a doctor. And that’s not just a pipe dream. After talking with the school director, I discovered that many CBC Bainet graduates have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, and engineers, who are now contributing back to their community and country.
I was thankful to see firsthand that even in the most far-flung and remote locales Cross is helping kids like Sougene realize their hope for a better future.