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The Cost of Educating Children

Jean Flobert Marcellus is a patient of ours. He’s also a Haitian government-

certified school teacher, assigned to teach in a school that is about a six hour walk into the mountains after you reach the end of the road! The locality where the school is located is called Lopino and it is one of the most isolated communities in our part of the country. Jean Flobert is 30 years old, with no wife or children yet and he’s a dedicated Christian. He’s been teaching in the school for a couple of years and spent most of our consultation time talking about the severe poverty, lack of development and challenges he faces in the community. He teaches in the government primary school in Lopino and is supposed to be making a fairly good salary. But, the government doesn’t pay teachers’ salaries regularly and he went all of last year without getting paid. I asked him why he continues to teach if he doesn’t get paid. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s what I’ve been trained to do – teach. And, the children really need it.” He went on to tell me that he and several other teachers live in rooms they rent in local people’s houses, but they have no beds and no means of transporting them up into the mountains. So, he sleeps on a mat on the floor. His students’ parents often yell at him and the other teachers, claiming that they’re brainwashing the children, stealing the parents’ money and taking the children away from working in the fields.

As I listened to Jean Flobert’s story, I thought about the fact that his work is like that of a missionary – sharing the truth, living out one’s faith, making sacrifices for something that is for the good of others, only they often don’t see it or appreciate it. As we’re reminded in Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Cherlie and I feel privileged to bear the cross of Christ in this country and we are blessed to be joined in our sacrifice by Haitians like Jean Flobert, a young man who is trying to make a difference in the lives of the young people he teaches.

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