I still clearly remember the first time I met Fanfan. It was my first mission trip to Haiti. The airport in Port au Prince was hot, dusty and very third world. As we struggled with our baggage, there was this tall, smiling Haitian waiting to greet us, relieve us of our load, toss it in the back of the truck that was to be our transport for the next week, and then help us climb in after it!
We got to see a lot of Fanfan that week. He was there every day to take us to our workplace. He spoke impeccable English and willingly answered the multitude of questions we had about everything to do with Haiti.
Gradually I learned his story. His mother had put him in an orphanage when he was very young because she was not able to care for him. The orphanage had become his home. While he was there an American woman met him, saw his potential, and was moved to fund his education. Education in Haiti is not free! He learned to speak English and with those skills found work with the non-government organization that set up our mission trip.
But more than his past, I found that Fanfan had a dream. He is a man of faith. Education had opened doors for him. His dream was to make education available to more Haitians. He managed to buy land outside of Port au Prince and, with help from a Methodist Church in Indiana, started to build his own school, Faith Academy! We visited it on my first mission trip. The first rooms were under construction. We painted walls and filled potholes in the track outside that qualifies as a road in Haiti. We did all this surrounded by crowds of laughing children, fascinated by our white skin and soft hands!
Over the next years I made several more trips to Haiti. I saw Fanfan’s school grow from the few rooms we painted, to a two story complex that now provides education and a daily meal to over two hundred children. All this is possible because caring people in the States have helped with the funds for construction, for the staff and for the meals and materials to run the school. Like most projects in Haiti, Fanfan is not finished! He continues to grow the school and now wants to build a church next to his school!
If you are interested in particpating in future mission trips to Haiti, please contact Sarah Putman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 979-8162.
John and his wife Vicki serve as liaisons to Haiti and Faith Academy.