"Dieuberlande"

By: Katie Quartucci

The last few days of our trip were spent closer to Port Au Prince, at Yahve Shamma. It’s a place I know well and have been blown away by getting to watch the progress made by so much struggle, lead by the Haitian leaders and supported by Help One Now.  The first time I visited, Haitian workers were breaking ground on a school that would not only serve the children living in Yahve Shamma, but also the children in the community. Since that first trip I have witnessed with my own two eyes children thriving in a beautifully safe school environment from pre-school to high school. I have seen the 40+ children who live at Yahve Shamma move from a two-bedroom dorm to a ten-bedroom complex with ten bathrooms and two spacious common areas. Can you believe it? How did I get so lucky to see such things? Why do I get to know the hard AND the good? It feels like too much to know about; and it makes me feel small, incapable, and unworthy to know. Until….

Until the moment I see a young lady named Dieuberlande. She is tall and radiant, and not just because of the heat. The first time I saw her in person, she was 14 and on the cusp of maturity. This time she had recently turned 19 and was now a gorgeous young woman with a smile that went on for days. My family and I have the privilege of showing our vote of confidence in the potential that Dieuberlande possess through a monthly sponsorship.

Through a group activity with all the older girls (14-19) living at Yahve Shamma, we got to draw a picture of our dreams and goals. Dieuberlande wants to be a nurse and go shopping!  Well, don’t we all, my dear one? After 3 days of being near each other, Dieuberlande gave me a letter expressing her “great sorrow” about learning of her mother’s death, never knowing her father, and how she came to live at Yahve Shamma.

The weight of this knowledge does not fall lightly on my freakishly strong shoulders. We know that this is the story of so many children. We hear them; but to touch, hold, and cuddle them in an attempt to help carry them WITH these kids is an impossible responsibility that must be met.  They don’t have a choice and neither do I. I will walk with Dieuberlande from afar and (as much as I can) right up next to that beauty of a girl.  I will serve her by learning sustainable ways to bring relational healing into every aspect of her time at Yahve Shamma; and work alongside her as she presses on to accomplish her every hope and dream.  I will mess up. I will probably miss the mark more than I hit it, but I will not stop struggling for progress for Dieuberlande and for all who have endured trauma.

I am small. I am incapable. I am unworthy.  And, I can’t unknow or unsee – so I will grow. I will find where I am able and I will choose to see the worthiness of a cause that will change the world.