I met Jasmine Martinson in the Fort Lauderdale airport as we boarded a plane to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Jasmine and her husband Greg operate an orphanage in Leogane, Haiti about 20 miles west of Port-au-Prince. She is from French speaking Quebec, Canada and Greg is from California.
This is Rodnashka, my new friend from Haiti, she is two and a half years old and cannot walk, she scoots around on her butt, reaching out with her hands and pulling her body forward. She answers better to the nickname Roadie, however generally she is in her own world.
There are children in Haiti who fail to thrive for many reasons, lack of food, sanitation, nutrition, love, violence, drugs and all the normal problems of the world. Jasmine and Greg find children like Roadie and nurture and love them back to good health, saving them from death.
The dilemma I have is this, if we save these children, and then there will be more children, with more babies and a never-ending cycle of poverty. Greg and Jasmine when they arrived in Haiti was not able to look the other way and forget, they decided to save one child,
“Because it mattered to that child.”
If you could save, the life of one child would you?
What is needed is hope, Greg and Jasmine raise their 35 children as if they were their own; the children live in an Americanize family. This family teaches Christian values, right and wrong, with the hope to raise young men and women that will change Haiti. Maybe you could say Greg and Jasmine are raising children of hope, these children will not just survive, their eyes will be filled with hope, and when people believe that life is good, then life is good.
I often say, “Life is Good,” not because life is always good, but because I know if I can say these words, then it is possible that life is indeed good. Can you say these words?
“Life is Good.”
Jasmine and Greg I believe are raising children in Haiti with eyes of hope that will be able to say, “Life is Good,” and when you can say, “Life is Good,” the world does change for the better.
Les Cayes or Aux Cayes, Haiti - Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I met Jasmine in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida Airport, she was worried about me and said when I talk with my husband Greg, maybe you can come stay at the orphanage until you get on your feet in Haiti.
The car broke down on the way to the Orphanage, a mechanic came, towed it to the shop, and drove us to Leogane, and there is a never-ending list of problems to be solved in chaotic Haiti.
Port-au-Prince slums, there is trash everywhere in Port-au-Prince; in homes like the ones along river is where many of the children in the group home are found.
The country of Haiti is occupied and policed by a United Nations military force.
UN Soldiers in an armored vehicle sitting at a strategic corner between Port-au-Prince and Leogane.
Cute is everywhere in this orphanage, the children are all smiling
Greg spends his whole day repairing and fixing things, in this photo he is fixing the stove. It takes a lot of time to buy, cook and feed 35-40 children. The house has a generator back up and many car batteries, the electricity goes off daily.
Roadie sitting in her high chair in the upper level of the house, when a baby or child has exceptional problems Greg and Jasmine bring the baby up into their immediate family area. There are large dorm rooms below with about five adult women to care for them.
Roadie eating a Peanut Butter sandwich, sort of a special mix for malnutrition babies.
In the morning, there is the ritual of preparing breakfast, tearing up loaves of bread into 35-40 pieces, cutting up fruit, and trying to keep the children patient.
The children waiting patiently for the Morning Prayer and to eat breakfast.
Disabled child eating breakfast, this type of wheelchair cost money; it is expensive to raise a family of children with problems.
Roadie is my friend.
I am not sure I like the look in her eyes; I just cannot put my finger on it.
I want this child to walk.
Manaz a girl who works at the orphanage went to the market on a motorcycle taxis, she is returning. Notice the barbwire, we are inside a compound, it is not safe outside at night, we are in a safe haven.
We got a ride to Port-au-Prince to pick up the car that was repaired, there is a pig walking around in the market.
A child on a porch swing, this is truly a luxury to play on a porch swing in Haiti.
Playing in courtyard area of the house.
Three of the babies that are upstairs so Greg and Jasmine can watch, care and love them under their watchful eyes.
A small child being bathed in a plastic washbasin.
Barbwire is needed in Haiti, this row of barbwire surround the compound house.
Class is being held, many older children go to public school, however lessons are also given here in the house, more or less a head start for the children. I would say there is always a Christian overlay to these classes, although Greg and Jasmine are not missionaries, they are for sure religious and raise their 35 children to understand God.
One of the 5-8 adult girls around holding a child, in a way, believe they could use volunteers to just sit and hold children, this alone is a full time job in a family of 35-40. I constantly had children on my lap, hugging and holding.
Roadie pulled herself up the balcony bars, she wanted to see what the other children were looking at, I almost cried, it was too much.
Roadie looking and wondering.
They are looking at Tap Taps or Machines passing with many people sitting on top of them, they want me to take a photo.
Notice Roadies twisted legs, this just ain’t right.
First we crawl, then we teeter, then we walk, strangely and in heartbreaking way, road drags her butt around on the floor.
Watch Video of Roadie
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The family raises a goat, and a couple of Turkeys, Greg tells me the males keep dying, in Haiti is always a struggle.
Greg and Jasmines Haiti Family, a photo taken right after Sunday Church service, this truly reminds me of my childhood.
This is the smile I want to see on Roadie face, it takes a lot of love and money to put that smile on a face here in Haiti.
It suppose I have avoided writing this report, I need a couple of days to think about what I saw in the home of Greg and Jasmine. I hate to call this an orphanage, it is not just a place for homeless children, it is a place where a child like Roadie could learn to smile and walk.
Jasmine explained that it cost about 2.35 U.S. Dollars per day per child to feed the children, this is 2467.5 per month. While I was there, the transmission on the car broke, the septic system overloaded and needed pumped, and there is a never-ending list of needs for this family in Haiti.
What is needed is money, please go to Greg and Jasmines internet site and click on the donate button, you can give with your credit card or paypal.com account.
The money here is not buying food, it is enabling Greg and Jasmine to love the children of Haiti without worry, like my parents, the children came first. I want to see Roadie walk, she is two and half years old, this just ain’t right.