Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Reason to Sing

BON REPOS, HAITI -- To close your eyes, you'd never guess these were the voices of children who've lost everything.



Smiling so big you know the joy came from somewhere deep.

Each of the 130 children who call the children's home at World Harvest Missions near Port-au-Prince home have a different sad story.

10-year-old Stevenson was buried in the rubble of his house for hours before he was found.

He was the only person in the house to survive.

His parents, siblings and best friend were all killed.

He had nowhere to go, until Miriam Frederick came along.

The Lake Worth resident founded World Harvest Missions which strives to save lives in Haiti in a number of ways.

The orphanage is continually taking in children, many of whom are found abandoned at their gate or in the streets because they were born with physical or mental disabilities.

The children attend school at the orphanage where classes are still ongoing this summer to make up for time lost in class after the quake.

But this mission is about more than these children who, because of the generosity of donors, are able to play, care-free on the swing sets and know that someone is looking out for them.

This mission is about making an even wider impact on the impoverished nation.

Outside the brightly colored gate of World Harvest, the streets are filthy and people beg for food.

Inside - a sprawling sanctuary that makes your forget you're in Haiti.

When you first enter the grassy compound, you see the food depot were cans, boxes and cartons of food, most of which was donated by people in Palm Beach County, are stored.

The food feeds the orphans here as well as those at other orphanages.

Frederick and her volunteers also take food out to the tent cities.

To the left, there is a beautiful, brightly painted building where volunteers sleep and eat.

So many people have poured into Port-au-Prince to offer a literal helping hand, that Frederick has several groups sleeping in tents in the middle of the property because she has no vacancy inside.

Those volunteers go out an missions throughout the city and go into the mountains to aid the other countless tent cities and orphanages.

Frederick and a team go out to throughout this region of the country looking for men, women and children who lost limbs in the 'quake and need help.

Once a week those people are brought back to World Harvest Missions where they can be fitted for prosthetics.

People's lives are better because of the work being done here.

Despite the horrors just outside the gate, she believes she's bringing a bit of brightness where there would otherwise be none.

And she believes these children, who at one time had nothing, are some of the few in the country with a chance at a life that will really be something to sing about.

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