Father’s Day is soon and it seemed only fitting to give them their due. While the women of Haiti are certainly the Poto Mitan of the family, there are lovely men who work hard to take care of their families and give back to their communities. We want to be sure they get the recognition they deserve.
The partnership is blessed with wonderful lay leaders. These men are the principals of the schools in each of 10 communities and they are also the lay leaders of the churches affiliated with the schools. All wonderful, kind men, one stands out. Luckner Dorsanvil lives in the large town of Anse-a-Galet and serves as lay leader and principal of Ticolette. He rises at 3 o’clock each morning to make the 4 hour trek up the mountain to be sure he arrives at school on time. Every day. He does not sleep at the school because he has a family to return to each night. Eight hours a day on the road, six hours or more at his job. On a recent visit with him he took great care to show off his classrooms, his students and the damage done to the church during the earthquake in 2010. A farming community, Ticolette stands out as one of them more impoverished areas in a setting of extreme poverty. During the growing season there is food available, but often times it has to be sold at market to pay bills and help the family survive during the long dry season from October to May.
His students come to school hungry, sometimes sick and always in need. In spite of that there are lessons on the board and the children do their work. Mr. Dornsavil’s face shows the concern and worry he has about the community he serves.
When he is home he does a good job serving his area of Anse-a-Galet as their community health worker, showing up at the Bill Rice Clinic (another 2 hour walk) each month for the meeting he is obliged to attend to receive training.
As of late he has as big smile as his sister church in the US, Alpharetta Presbyterian, has purchased a motorcycle for him to use to get to school each day. It has not arrived yet…but he is expecting it any day. He is a lovely man and huge contributor to his community.
This gentleman has been responsible for many births on the island. He is kind, cheerful and eager to learn. He is a member of our Matwones and has been attending the births of women for many years. On a recent visit to the Bill Rice Clinic he made it a point to introduce me to the woman in the picture and brag on how he had delivered her baby. When it came time to turn in the monthly reports he had delivered 5 babies that month. All healthy and welcomed into the world using clean health care techniques. He, too, attends meetings at the Bill Rice Clinic each month to learn new and better ways to keep the mothers and babies safe. As many on the island, he does not read or write, but took great pride in singing a song he knows about the proper procedures necessary to have clean hands and safe deliveries. It would be a lucky woman who looked up in her labor and saw him coming in the door!
And, last, but not least, the “father” to us all. Our dear Pere Vil. Father to two lovely daughters, Miriam and Sephora, he is kind leader of all. During a recent visit I asked if he became tired from the long days, tough journeys to the out-lying communities and the burdens of so many who need so much. “No” he answered. When God spoke to him and he knew this would be his life he decided to do it with joy and energy…and he has kept that spirit. Always a smile, never a complaint, he is fair and kind. Quick to laugh and wise in his decisions. We are lucky to have his guidance and direction. His job is difficult and his days are long. God bless him for the work he does and the example he sets for all the men on La Gonave. We are lucky to call him “father” and “brother.”
So, a very Happy Father’s Day to the men of La Gonave. It takes a lot of courage to stay true to your calling in the face of such poverty and need. These men have earned the respect of their communities and the love of the women in their lives. And, that is not a small task.