A young man reflects on the stability he found growing up at NPH Haiti. Now in university, he thanks everyone who has made his success possible. March 12, 2019 - Haiti
Gonel as a little tot at the St. Helene home.
Gonel is a young man who was born at Anse-A-Foleur. At the tender age of three, he left his home. His father had passed away and his mother came to the sad realization that the social circumstances and financial poverty raging through her community would be too much to overcome for her to raise her son. She contacted her sister-in-law to help Gonel and his two siblings.
Gonel’s aunt worked at St. Damien’s Pediatric Hospital, which at that time was a hospice at Petion-ville. She struggled, too. Few in Haiti can escape the financial crises or the persistent poverty. His aunt reached out the NPH and Gonel and his older brother joined our St. Helene home in Kenscoff.
Gonel entered our NPH family in 2000 and spent 11 years at St. Helene. In 2011 he graduated from 9th grade and moved into the Don Bosco program, which supports high school and university students in the city with rent and other needed goods or funds.
Remembering his first days and weeks at St. Helene, he says, “I found myself living with a lot of new children. I remember saying, ‘It seems I have a new family!’ The way we lived in the home, all of us being together, gave me strength.”
“Growing up at NPH, my favorite food was rice, smashed beans, and vegetables. Since leaving St. Helene, I miss my old roommates, my sports team, and my colleagues. When we all lived together, it was easy to meet and find time to chat.”
Today Gonel is 23 years old and studies business administration. His dream is “to go back to where I born to do business and help the people there to develop our neighborhood.”
Gonel has learned a lot during his time at NPH. Above all, he notes, “the importance of family for the children. I learned that children have dreams, but they need someone to back them up to achieve them. Education is the best thing for a child to develop their skills in this part of the word.”
“My favorite memory at NPH is Christmastime, when we received gifts and participated in the home’s activities. What I like at NPH is the education and living all together as family.”
Family is important to Gonel. He defines it as a “place where children feel safe, receive love, can be educated and can relax.”
Gonel has come a long way since joining NPH and he has big plans for the future. But for the New Year, “My goal for 2019 is to speak English, have good grades at my university, and begin a reading club at school.”
He says thank you to all of his caregivers at NPH, who treated him like their own child, and also thanks the international NPH family that helps everyone at NPH Haiti with school, food, clothes, and healthcare.
The young man concludes thanking anyone who has supported NPH throughout his journey. "Today I can say I am studying at university because of your help. My mother was not able to even feed us, not to mention pay for school. All of the goals I have achieved are because of good people like you. May God keep blessing each of you for the great job you are doing for our family."
Denso Gay Communication Officer
You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson