Praying to Make a Difference: 1 Child at a Time4 min read

Such is Life

He did not even notice that I was watching. He was just one little boy doing an ordinary household chore in a Haitian-sort-of-way. I love when I can just observe without being intrusive on the event unfolding! The chore was to dispose of the family’s trash by the seashore. The two five-gallon buckets of gross, smelly gunk was more than any little boy should be expected to carry, but nonetheless, this was his job.

“Necessity is the mother of invention” is a common saying, and in Haiti inventions of necessity abound. The boy had somehow come upon a tiny two-wheel bicycle. The seat was long gone, as well as the tire that once was on the front rim. The handle of each bucket was draped over one of the handlebars, while the bottom of the buckets just barely missed dragging on the ground. Over bumpy road and through uneven grass and areas of mud, he came ‘porting’ his load. At first glance, I thought the buckets were filled with charcoal and that the little boy was trying to sell his goods to make a few pennies. It was not until the heavy buckets up righted the bicycle that I saw him remove the buckets and carry them the last few feet to a “suitable” place for dumping. He made sure each bucket was completely empty and then he found an old insole of a shoe to “clean” the outside of one of the buckets that had gotten too dirty. That chore being done, he returned to his one-tire bicycle, remounted the buckets onto the handlebars and with a joyful little sidekick in his step he headed back for home. He never looked my way. He was just intent on doing what he had come to do.

I am not sure why scenes like this intrigue me. Perhaps, it is just learning more about how poor Haitians live their everyday lives. Perhaps, it is because I marvel at what chores little ones in Haiti are required to do. Perhaps, it is because complaining is not part of the equation.

There are so many sightings of God at work in Haiti … many that bring me great joy. I was in my car on the side of the road waiting for traffic to clear. I noticed three little royal blue, gingham plaid uniformed girls nearby. One of them broke out into a grin, waved and then shouted the word “Blan!” (white) when she caught sight of me. I greeted them with “Bon swa!” (Good afternoon) and they came bolting towards me. Without hesitation all three pairs of hands reached through my open car window and 30 little fingers ruffled with delight through my hair, which feels so very different from their own. They giggled with glee. Just as quickly, they continued on their way, leaving me with a happy heart!

Newly renovated dormitory for Caribbean Children's FoundationOther sightings touch the deep places of my soul like witnessing a tragic accident coupled with the loving response of “good Samaritans.” The livelihood of poor Haitians is so fragile. One accident like this could easily result in a family with no food to eat at the end of the day or worse. Those “first responders” know all too well that their help was not just a nice thing to do, but it was vital!

About my ministry

In 2003, three friends and I founded Caribbean Children’s Foundation. When traveling to Haiti, we fell in love with the children. To best serve them, I moved in Haiti in 2004. Our organization adopted the motto “Praying to make a difference … one child at a time!” Initially, we promoted orphan sponsorships, but it soon became clear that the needs in Haiti were many. We now have the following programs and projects that include:

  • Orphan sponsorships,
  • Tuition assistance programs and feeding programs for students,
  • Academic reward goat program,
  • Medical care for critically ill children,
  • Agriculture and fishing projects to promote self-sufficiency, and
  • Orphanage and school construction projects.

Periodically, I am in various parts of the USA participating in fundraisers or making presentations. If you are interested in learning more about the mission field in Haiti, the Caribbean Children’s Foundation, or being part of a mission team, I’d be happy to visit your church, Bible class, Sunday school, VBS, organization, or place of employment. Please contact me at

Check out Nora and the ministry at Facebook. For more stories, like the one above, follow Nora’s blog.

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About the Author

Nora Léon is a member of Holy Cross, Jenison. After working for 21 years with seniors, Leon answered God’s call to serve as a missionary in Haiti where she works full time with poor and orphaned children. Léon also serves as the Executive Director of the Caribbean Children's Foundation. She is married to Gerson, a Haitian, and together, they share the passion of helping children who would have no hope for the future if someone does not advocate for them.

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