“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”
Out of the dark clouds, the plane landed softly as I took in the view of the Dominican Republic. Although Haiti was our original destination, I was ecstatic for the detour to a new country if even for a moment; I love adventure! I was on this trek as part of a 4 person team during the early days of Ncompass’s relationship with the Maranatha House orphanage in Titanyen, Haiti. However, as reality set in we realized this tropical storm caused detour would throw off our timing with our pick-up contact (Orphanage Director and great man Jackson Ismorin) who had a tight time window to pick us up due to his responsibilities at the orphanage. As we discussed our contingencies while the weather improved, we made the quick hop to the other half of Hispaniola and landed at the Port Au Prince airport. After we worked our way through the crowded and primitive (it has since been renovated) airport (an adventure in itself) we eagerly searched for the reassuring eyes of Jackson as many offers to give us a ride consistently filled our ears from strangers who actively tried to “help” us with our bags seeing we were obvious Americans in search of a ride. As the minutes added up with each unsuccessful call and search for Jackson, the sun slowly lowered and we quickly approached a decision point that none of us felt incredibly comfortable in making.
We huddled as a group weighing our options. As a team, we decided to take an offer from a taxi with a larger vehicle that could accommodate our luggage and supplies we had brought for the orphanage and the kiddos. As we hopped in, I felt like I was in a movie in one of the scenes right before something bad is about to happen (one of the drivers literally had bulky sunglasses and shiny teeth and could be mistaken for a “B movie bad guy”*). The ~ 45-minute drive felt like hours as we bumped along the roads of an earthquake-torn country consistently ranked in the top 2 most poor countries in the Western Hemisphere. Considering only one person in our group had been to the Maranatha House before, we were in a very risky situation (Google maps and reliable street signs are things we should not take for granted). It is amazing how much you pray when you realize you are in a situation where you could be robbed, kidnapped, or worse…and boy did I pray!
“Because of your great compassion, you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.”
We eventually rolled into the orphanage to songs and cheers from the children as Jackson and the rest of us shared a very similar expression of relief. That trip in 2011 lead to many others and a continued strong relationship between Ncompass and the Maranatha House. Some risks have not paid off, but many have and for those, it has all been worth it. These include providing education for over 100 children, housing for 26 orphans and transitional support for over a dozen young men and women as they “age out” of the orphanage system. Jackson did everything when running the orphanage and considering he died tragically a couple short years later, I honestly believe Ncompass’s steadfast support of the Maranatha House has lead to the safety, security, and enrichment of hundreds of children’s lives. In fact, two of those early travelers were Katie Matheny (current Ncompass Executive Director) and her husband Randy Matheny who have continued to take on continued risk in order to do great things year in and year out.
Traveling to a foreign country and experiencing risky close calls is an education in itself as we continue to focus on the theme of education during part two of this three-part blog series. As mentioned in the January post, education is an incredible investment and one Ncompass has prioritized by developing a specific fund for the orphans they support. The fund allows dozens of children to attend school and have the necessary supplies and uniforms to begin classes on time and continue uninterrupted (despite its poverty, many schools in Haiti will not allow students to attend if they do not have the properly assigned school uniforms). Take a risk and do something great by taking a look at the positive actions below.
- Educate yourself and learn more about Ncompass and their work here.
- Fundraising Goal for January-March: $1,000 ($500 match already committed).
- In an effort to put my money where my mouth is (much more preferable than a foot), I am offering the $500 match. Keep in mind the concept of a matching gift though; $0 raised outside of me means a $0 match. Do it for the kids!
The proceeds of this fundraiser will go to Ncompass’s Education Fund, which goes to support tutoring, books, school shoes, and uniforms. We will continue the discussion on education and Ncompass during the March post!
Positive thought leads to positive action.
*The “B movie bad guy” was actually very nice and hilarious…don’t judge a book too much by it’s cover…my bad! 🙂