“Sometimes, I wonder if my mother has seen me but didn’t recognize me,” 16-year-old Ginny says.
Born in the Haitian countryside, Ginny was given up at birth. She lived in several different homes and even lived on the streets. When Ginny was 4, a woman took her home to live with her. “I got to go to school!” Ginny said. “But when Ginny was 10, the woman invited a man to live in the house. He beat Ginny and tried to rape her. “I screamed, but no one came to help me,” she said stoically. “I was so scared; I couldn’t sleep.”
Ginny left the woman’s home and lived with a neighbor, where she cleaned house in exchanged for food. Ginny was mistreated in this home, too.
“I’ve suffered a lot,” Ginny says. “I just wanted to have a home and a mother.”
“One day someone told Ginny that her mother was in Port-au-Prince. They gave her a telephone number. Ginny called the number and heard her mother’s voice. She learned that she had five sisters. When Ginny asked if she could visit, her mother agreed.
Excited that at last she’d have a home and a family, Ginny made plans to visit her mother.
But the January 12 earthquake shattered Ginny’s plans. Ginny survived the earthquake, but she lost everything else. She searched for her mother’s home to find it was now only a pile of rubble. “Day and night, I wonder if my mother and sisters are still alive somewhere,” she says. “I came so close to meeting her, and then the earthquake took everything away.”
Ginny made her way to a displaced-persons camp where ADRA provides shelter, food, and understanding adults who can help her deal with the traumas she’s experienced. ADRA is working with other agencies to keep these children safe and unite then with their families. They have given Ginny hope.
Ginny met another girl who also was separated from her family. “We look out for each other,” she says. “For the first time in my life, I have a sister. We are no longer alone.”
Our church has more than 330,000 members in Haiti. ADRA has been working to help the Haitian people for some 30 years. Your mission offerings and a recent Thirteenth Sabbath Offering is helping to rebuild the work in Haiti so that more people can experience God’s love.
Michelle L. Oetman is communication and media coordinator for Adventist Development & Relief Agency (ADRA) in Haiti.