One of the things I love about Rapha House’s work in Haiti is something that most people don't think about. The girls we serve are obviously our primary focus-- but we also employ 25 people to do this work, and in a country where unemployment/lack of jobs is a major contributor to the dire poverty that exists, this is not something to be taken for granted. This steady source of income is life-changing for these 25 employees and their families. Beyond just meeting their physical needs and providing them with things like food, access to healthcare, the ability to send their children to school, etc-- it also affects their mental health, their dignity, their self-esteem and sense of purpose. Job creation has to be a huge piece of the puzzle in trying to address Haiti's problems...so even though that is not our explicit purpose, and we are a very small-scale operation, it brings me great joy to sign 25 paychecks each month.
But yesterday a conversation with a couple of our housemothers made me realize that the difference in our staff members' lives goes far beyond that. One of them said something that I keep thinking about. Here is what she said:
"It's not only the girls whose lives have been changed by Rapha. Working here for the past 3 years has completely changed me. I used to be so impatient with people, flying off the handle over any little thing.. But working with these girls has forced me to become a patient person. I am much more understanding of other people now, because now I realize that I can't know what they have experienced in their lives. You meet a person and you don't know what they are dealing with or what kind of pain they might be carrying around. So it is easier for me to show kindness and understanding, instead of getting angry at every little offense. When my mother-in-law came to visit this year, she asked my husband what was going on with me because I seemed so different, so much calmer and more patient. I told her that God has used my job to change me."
It is incredibly encouraging to me to know that God is using this ministry in ways that we may not see, and that He is always at work. In the painful processing of trauma...in the monotonous activities of daily life such as preparing meals for the girls day in and day out...in the late night tears and fears...in the laughter of jump rope competitions between staff and girls-- through it all, He is working in the hearts of our girls AND the hearts of our staff. I know I say it a lot, but I will say it again; if you support this ministry, thank you! We have no quick fixes and we aren't a "high numbers" or "instant results" kind of a ministry-- but thank you for investing in the slow process of bringing about true change in the lives of our girls and our staff!
- Heather | Rapha House Haiti Director