- Posted by Lin Wilder
- On December 30, 2018
- 2 Comments
- catholic priest, food for the poor, giving back, Haiti, poorest of the poor, poverty, tithing
A House in Haiti:
A Counter-cultural Christmas Present
“Wow…Really? It’s all paid? Someone in Haiti will get a house?” I was dumbfounded…
I had emailed Food for the Poor because the money that had been debited from my account each month had stopped. I thought there was a glitch of some kind, it never occurred to me that the cost of the house had been paid.
When the woman from Food for the Poor called on Christmas Eve Day to tell me that the year and a half commitment had been paid in full, I was stunned. And maybe even awed…thinking, maybe even saying to her, “This is the best Christmas present ever!”
At my reaction, she asked wisely, “Would you like to commit to a second house?” Thankfully, good sense reigned as I explained that right now, my business expenses were high. But then I said, “Do please call me back in June.” Because then I can do it. Just will require more care with monthly cash flow.
That night when awake at midnight thirty, I thought of that conversation..of the fact that someone, most likely a woman with children…the poorest of the poor. One family in Haiti now has a real house…not a mud hut. Wowza…truly!
There’s a story here…but you guessed that already…
We know the truth of it don’t we? That it really is better to give than to receive?
Like most of us in this country…maybe most countries in the western world, my need to give back is not a new one. Nor was it initially related to my faith. Because when I began to feel it, I had none. All it takes is some travel, opening our eyes while we do it. Whether within the US or outside it, we become overwhelmed by our own wealth even if we don’t think of ourselves as rich when we risk going to the tough neighborhoods in our cities. We can see quickly just how rich we are…if we look.
And we begin to appreciate that phrase, “the poorest of the poor” and how many legs it has the more we look around at how many of us live in this world. Of the stark reality of famine and scarcity. Because the poverty outside the US is beyond our experience. We lack words to describe it.
When my husband John and I married, the last thing we needed were gifts. John had a great idea: in lieu of a wedding gift, please give to a charity we supported. That’s when I fell for Ferdinand Mahfood’s dream, Food for the Poor. Over the years, my affection for this group of people continues to deepen. And it has been one of my foremost charities.
But providing the money to build a house in Haiti? That’s a bit of cash to come up with and was nowhere in my plan. That is until a rainy Saturday evening when a “retired” San Antonio priest showed up at St. Teresa of Avila church in Carson City to speak on behalf of Food for the Poor. His talk, however, wasn’t the average appeal. Far from it.
Excerpted from a May 2017 article, Mud Cookies, Imagine Feeding Your Kids Some?
Catholic priest Monsignor Marron didn’t just visit the Florida offices of Food for the Poor when he agreed to speak on behalf of the organization, he asked to travel to a Haitian village about twenty miles outside of Port Au Prince where everyone lives in mud huts. That bears repeating: Lives in mud huts. And to ask permission from one of the residents to enter her mud hut. To talk with her. So that he could help us visualize how our neighbors in the southern Caribbean Ocean live.
“What happens when it rains?”
“The mud begins to melt and we must stand, there is no place to sit. Sometimes for days.”
“What do you do for your children when there is no food?”
“They begin to cry after three or four days. From the pain of their stomachs. So I make them mud cookies to fill up their stomachs.” The Monsignor pulled out a flat, four or five inch light brown object, held it up so we could all see it and declared, “This is a mud cookie.” READ ENTIRE POST
Perhaps you could commit to 18 months to build a house in Haiti…? Food for the Poor makes it eminently doable…check out their site here.
Or something else? Clothing, food, a goat? Check out all the options here!
Merry Christmas and a most prosperous and blessed 2019 to you and your family!