Building a foundation of hope for Haiti
For many students and faculty, a summer vacation would be a trip to somewhere relaxing, with shopping, swimming or tanning included. But for one UH instructor, summer meant caring for underprivileged children in the Caribbean.
In addition to teaching in the anthropology department, adjunct instructor Matthew Avery is a member of Coreluv International, a Christian organization committed to empowering the orphans of Haiti with what they call the six basic needs: water, food, health care, education, job skills and a loving environment.
“Instead of just give, give, give, we are trying to teach them. Once you hit 18, if you don’t have a skill or trade, you’re not going to survive,” Avery said.
After raising $200,000 this summer, Coreluv is now on its way to completing the third step of Phase One for its Myan Orphanage Project, Coreluv’s second orphanage. The Myan Orphanage Project is a two-phase project that will include an orphanage large enough to house 160 children and include a school, kitchen, dining hall, health clinic, community center and job skills center.
“The water is flowing now; we’ve got 60 bunk beds already made. We’re hoping to finish the Myan Orphanage Project within the next two months, and the second that it is finished and legally listed as an orphanage, we’re going to start rescuing kids. Hopefully, by the end of the year, we’ll have anywhere from 30 to 50 kids,” Avery said.
Through Mission 24, a campus worship center, students were able to make the trip with Avery and the Coreluv team in May to Coreluv’s first orphanage in Gonaives.
“We were there for 10 days and did a lot of construction — everything from fixing doors to electrical, just everything.”Avery said.
Industrial design senior Martha Hernandez was among 14 students who made the trip to Haiti.
“I went (to Haiti) because I knew that I have a role as a Christian and human being to care for the less fortunate. I love children, so I knew that this was a great opportunity to step up to the plate,” Hernandez said.
“The highlight of my experience was seeing God move through the smallest things. One of my favorite parts of the trip was seeing children care for each other. Older brothers and sisters would spoon-feed their siblings and give them their portions of food in order for them to survive. Their degree of love and selflessness is seldom seen here in the States.”
Avery shows the importance of Coreluv’s work at the Gonaives orphanage when telling the story of a baby, Moiz, who was abandoned after birth.
“The baby was found with mosquito bites all over him and the umbilical cord still attached. He was abandoned, found the next day and four days later, he came to us. Within six days of that child being born, he was in our orphanage,” Avery said.
Since Moiz was the orphanage’s first infant, there was a worry that the other 27 orphans would be jealous. Fortunately, they were all excited to be big brothers and sisters.
“We were asking, ‘who is going to teach him to play basketball? Who is going to teach him how to read?’ and all the kids would raise their hands like ‘I will! I will!’ and so it’s so cool that now (Moiz) has 27 brothers and sisters,” Avery said.