Why I go to Haiti

This week we have a guest blogger, Judd Demaline. Judd is an excellent, thoughtful photographer and videographer based in St. Louis, and for the last 3 years has traveled with MFK personnel to Haiti to record interviews and footage for our annual agency video. You can see his excellent work here and here.

His most recent trip with MFK was in early December 2016 and posted this beautiful story on his Instagram page. He gave his permission for us to post it on our blog. Thank you, Judd, for sharing your heart with us and the people of Haiti.


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Photo: Judd Demaline

 

Someone recently asked me why I come back to Haiti each year. Why take the risk, they asked. I have many answers to those questions, but after this trip I have only one…

The man photographed above is Jonas. He has been a farmer his entire life. His hands were weathered and calloused, his shirt torn, his pants stitched together over past alterations. His shoes lacked laces, tongues, and the soles were paper thin. He is poor, but his spirit is rich beyond belief.

He sang at the top of his lungs with his fellow townsfolk as they cleared a field for peanut planting. His smile was infectious and his laughter was massive. He was humble, gracious, and filled with love. He was one of three farmers we interviewed. We asked all the farmers the same question: “Are you aware that the peanuts you grow are used to save the lives of Haitian children?” Some farmers knew, others did not; but Jonas’ answer is unlike any others.

He replied, “I do know this. When I learned this, I began working twice as hard. I work for the children, I work to save their lives.”

I have met many Haitians over the years and I have cared for many of them, but Jonas has a very special place in the bottom of my heart. He is a reminder that all we have is each other.

Why do I go back each year? Because of hope. Because of love. Because seeing is believing. Because of people like Jonas.