Lisa Berg is no stranger to Three Angels, but she is new to this important role. Our former BIJOU Production Coordinator, Lisa rejoined us last summer when we found ourselves without a Student Sponsorship Coordinator. Lisa stepped into this role seamlessly, and we are thrilled to have her back on our team! Lisa has an enormous love for Haiti and Three Angels that adds something special to everything she does.
If you sponsor a student at Three Angels Christian Academy or one of our secondary school scholarship students, you might have heard from her already. As well as matching students with sponsors, Lisa prepares Sponsor Cards by photographing the students, interviewing them so we know a little more about them, delivering gifts and letters, and helping the kids to craft artwork to gift to their sponsors.
Lisa, along with her husband, Paul, made her first visit as Student Sponsorship Coordinator to Three Angels a few months ago. While Paul contributed some much-appreciated IT expertise, Lisa spent her time getting acquainted with our teaching staff and new school leadership, as well as spending LOTS of time with the students.
Read on to find out more about that trip and the expanded world view Lisa gained. And if you’d like to join us in what we’re doing, Lisa would love to match you with one of our students! Just head on over to our “Sponsor” tab to get started.
“In 2012, I took my first trip to Haiti, and I was immediately hooked.”
“I was so impressed with the school program that I started sponsoring several students right away. I had my next visit planned before I even left, so I am thrilled to be Three Angels’ new Student Sponsorship Coordinator.”
“Traveling to Haiti is no small feat from my home in Oregon. JetBlue takes us first across the United States and then down to the Caribbean for a journey that takes about 15 hours. In preparation for this trip, we spent months planning crafts and collecting donations, so we had four 50-pound bags of supplies with us. That’s 200 pounds of luggage! We were very grateful for the driver who picked us up and helped with all that luggage.”
“First thing Monday morning, the sounds of the students arriving at school filled the Guest House. I was pretty excited for this first day. I was, in fact… giddy as a school girl! I could barely eat the wonderful breakfast Marie Michelle (Guest House cook) had made.”
“We hurried over to the school to watch the morning’s main event: the opening ceremonies. The students line up by class every school day and recite Psalm 23 and the Lord’s Prayer and then sing the national anthem and some worship songs before heading to their classrooms. On this particular morning, many of the students were focused intently on the ceremonies, but others were staring at the blan (white) people lingering nearby— a.k.a. US.”
“Once the kids started their day in class, we gathered them up grade by grade to take their photos. These photos go on the Sponsor Cards we send out, but they’re also for the badges that every parent wears when they pick up their child. This was a really fun project! The personalities of the kids are so diverse— some wouldn’t crack a smile, while others were total hams!”
“Next came the crafts. As you can imagine, it took several days to do this with all of the classes, preschool through sixth grade. I’m so thankful for the interpreter who helped us; she introduced us to the students in creole and explained why they were making gifts, and for who. The crafts were a welcomed distraction from regular school activities, and the kids had so much fun! They did get quite focused on sticking to the example I gave them, so encouraging creativity was key. I wish their sponsors could have seen those sweet faces when they handed in their completed projects— they were so proud of their accomplishments!”
“Through the laughter and the silliness, we were reminded of the hardships happening just outside the walls of Three Angels Haiti. With each new school year come many new students and the privilege of interviewing their parents. When asked what they do for a living, some parents told me they weren’t employed, but would then explain how they sell wares on the street to support their family.”
“It took some time for me to understand this, but in Haiti if you don’t have a job that requires a uniform or sitting in an office, it’s not considered a real job or “worthy” employment. You see, jobs are not easy to come by without an education, and education is not offered to all. Those without an education often become street vendors because there are very few other options. And it’s not an easy job; if you don’t sell, you don’t eat, and neither does your family.”
That’s a sobering thought.
“Education seems more important to me now than ever before.”
“I will never again look the same way at the many vendors who line nearly every street. I did my best to encourage these parents; what they are doing matters, and there is no shame in working hard to feed their babies. I am brimming with gratitude for all the sponsors who help to provide not only an education for a child, but also nutritious food, healthcare, and a safe place to be during the day. The hearts of these hard-working parents are eased knowing their children are being fed and cared for while they do their best to provide a home. We have YOU to thank for that!”
“Education is vital for a nation to thrive, and Haiti is no exception. But when it comes to pursuing higher education, family and community are not always supportive. For those who dream of this future, there are enormous social hurdles to overcome. Some of you reading this may be able to relate.”
“But this year, for the first time, four students who graduated from our secondary scholarship program received very special scholarships to attend university. I got to meet with them, and their courage is inspiring. When asked what they would change in this world, these four, two young men and two young women, all said they would change the stigma of education in Haiti and improve the education system as a whole. One even wants to sponsor a student at Three Angels once he’s completed his education!”
“The passion to change the nation can be found in our primary students too. When asked if they could change anything in the world, their answers ranged from cleaning up the streets to building more hospitals and schools to regulating the protests taking place throughout the area— a much too common scene in recent weeks. These kids are all under 13 years of age, but they are paying attention to the world around them, and they want to change it.”
“We have hopes for change too, and many new programs are in the works. We have a newly-expanded library with a computer accessible to students, and we hope to add an entire media resource room before the year is through. This has been a long time coming, but kids fill this room daily to read and study. New school leadership is passionate and doing awesome things, and the entire energy is very positive. Joy flows from the staff and the students, and it’s quite contagious!”
“I hope you will join me to help build up these lives and this country! Each monthly gift of $29 provides so much… not the least of which is HOPE.”
If you have questions for Lisa or would like to know more about sponsorship and education in Haiti, please write to her at: Lisa@ThreeAngelsHaiti.org.