Walking into House of Hope feels like entering a family’s home. Ancela is the first to turn around and smile, welcoming strangers into her community: seven children around a big table with plates full of food, loud laughter, and creole chatter. At 12-years-old, she plays the role of the oldest sister and sits last for her meal after helping Mamma serve the younger children. Unsure of whom exactly the visiting ‘blancs’ are, she maintains eye contact and continues to smile, sure she will get to practice the English she is so proudly acing in school.
Ancela waits to be approached for conversation, but is instantly receptive and confident. Her eyes widen as she speaks about her dream of remaining in school until she is able to become a nurse. Her hopes stem from her desire to help people; the way she loves the younger children at House of Hope is a clear indication that she is already doing just that. To watch Ancela play soccer, walk hand-in-hand, and practice reading English with her siblings only reinforces the family atmosphere that permeates the home.
Ancela’s life has not always looked this way, though. She recalls many days before she lived at House of Hope when she couldn’t go to school because of the cost, and that she stayed home to wash dishes and help her mother. When she came to live at House of Hope in 2011, she was an unconfident, unschooled, and underfed 9-year-old. She now speaks of her education proudly, beaming over the simple “gifts” of English and math class.
“Thankful” barely begins to describe Ancela’s spirit as she talks. Empowered, healthy, responsible, undaunted—those are the words that she wears. Her life has been transformed at House of Hope, and she is now compelled to transform the lives of others.
Consider your role in Ancela’s story, and the stories of her six younger siblings. Without the help of House of Hope, their lives would inevitably look like those of the 300,000 other orphans in Haiti. House of Hope is encouraging and raising each child to contribute their unique gifts and generous spirits to a society that they will grow up to lead. Give the gift of a future to Ancela and her siblings this holiday season.