So you brought home a Haitian?
It is funny when Frantzy and I go somewhere and somebody meets us for the first time. The conversation almost always goes like this –
“Oh yea, we worked together in Haiti”
“ummm. Yea – he lives with my parents. He’s kind of like my brother”
Two little phrases that I say so often that I forget the magnitude of them.
First off, it was the least random thing ever that “we worked together in Haiti” and Frantzy ended up living at my parents house in Columbus, Ohio. A lot of work and research and open doors and a few closed doors and fundraising and many many conversations and meetings at the embassy and standardized tests and 5 different universities and tons of prayer and honestly just a bit of luck was what brought Frantzy here.
In past blogs I have written pretty extensively regarding mine and Frantzys friendship story and about initial steps in getting a student visa (feel free to check those out — Fe’m pi bon and An Uncommon Dignity).
Before Frantzy officially had a student visa, several people reached out with words of caution. I think their hearts were in the right place but it went something along the lines of “but do you really know him well enough?” “what about money….you don’t have enough for all of his schooling?” , etc. Some people assumed that there was something romantic going on between us and others assumed that I just could not let go of Haiti and then were was a handful of people who were just downright supportive. They got it. This guy deserves it. This guys has put in the work and hes so smart and kind and he will no doubt change his country… if he just gets this one break.
Did my family go out on a limb? Hell yes. Did we know what we were getting ourselves into? Not a friggin clue. I would be lying if I said having Frantzy here has not come with unforeseen challenges – not having anything to do with who Frantzy is – but just the sheer implications of bringing a person who has never been to the states and is legally not able to work and plopping them smack dab down in the middle of your family.
Two and a half years later, I often forget how I know Frantzy and I just see him as my family. My parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncles, cousins, and friends have all embraced him as our own and honestly it has been the most amazing thing and we have all grown a little bit better from knowing him.
Frantzy has been present in a heck of a 2 years with my family too – with some of the highest highs and the lowest lows. We was at my brothers and mines weddings. He came to the hospital the night Remi was born. He learned to play softball (and more specifically to drop the bat when he runs to first base!) He ate dinner with my grandmother every Tuesday night & befriended her cat (Marlie) who she often reminded Frantzy not to eat, and then when she passed away Frantzy mourned with our family. He grieved with us after my dads bike accident and did everything he could to help our family with our nieces recent NICU stay. He stood outside in 1 degree weather in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for Groundhogs day. He has celebrated every holiday with my family and came on our vacations. On his most recent birthday a group of people who love him threw him a “surprise chicken party”. He has learned a lot about construction with my dad & has worked so hard to make money despite not being able to get a job here. He taught my dad and brother to like soccer (or at least be interested in it) and as much as he won’t admit it…he kind of likes dogs now.
We adore Frantzy and we are so very proud of all he has accomplished thus far. But there has always been this overwhelming burden of what happens next? Frantzys visa expires in just over 3 years. He has one semester left to finish his Associates degree and he desires to continue to get a Bachelors in business. Financially, we have enough for Frantzy to finish next semester and we are trusting that God for what happens after that. But the question that we all struggle with was even if Frantzy got the funding to finish his Bachelors degree as he desires….then what? He has to go back to Haiti eventually and what do you do with a higher education in a country with very limited jobs? His deepest desire to start a business in his village to help kids go to school and keep their mothers out of prostitution. But where do you even start? And how can we best prepare him and support him?
As we were struggling through these questions, an elder at our church threw out the idea an internship. What if Frantzy could apply what he has learned thus far in school and simultaneously learn from a Haitian organization that already works in business?
BOOM. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I initially went to Haiti to do an internship at Mission of Hope and they have a business internship. Fast forward a few weeks and Frantzy has been accepted to the Mission of Hope project management internship for this summer at Mission of Hope.
It’s wild when you really think about the implications of Frantzy doing an internship in his country. He has lived in Haiti most of his life, but he is now returning on mission and to serve his people. He is using his education he has received thus far and applying it, while networking and learning more for his future endeavors.
I don’t know if you know this about Frantzy but he was homeless for several years after the earthquake. He was not raised by his parents and his grandmother who was raising him died in a car accident when he was 9. He was then raised by his great aunt – who was a good lady but was raising many children so the concept of full bellys or a bed were close to non-existent. With everything working against him, he was one of the 2% of Haitian who finished high school. Frantzy is resilient. He is hardworking and he has remarkable character. I have literally never heard him complain or say a bad thing about a single person. I know there are many smart people in this world, but I think when you match that with a person with a heart like Frans – that is when the world begins to change. I cannot think of something more worthwhile to invest in.
I am so stinking excited for him to get to spend some extended time in Haiti learning from one of my old co-workers. I am excited for him to be intentionally discipled by Godly men. I am excited to see what connections happen this summer and to see how God moves in Frantzys life & what connections are made for his future.
I have no doubt that as God has open so many doors in his life to get him here that the financial aspect of this internship is icing on the cake. I know that God is the ultimate provider and we just get to steward those resources.get to steward those resources.
When I lived in Haiti fundraising was initially something I dreaded, but eventually became one of my favorite parts of my job. It grew my faith so massively watching God provide when I could not. It taught me to rely and to trust and the share how God was working. I will never forget the day one of my major supporters told me that by not letting her know the need I was “robbing her of the blessing to be apart of what God was doing in Haiti”.
So below is the explanation of the financial need for Frantzys summer internship. If you are not able to give currently, there are many other ways to support Frantzy –such as praying for his summer & future or reaching out to him personally.
In order for Frantzy to go this summer he has to raise money for living and for his plane ticket. If you would like support him financially there are multiple options:
- The cost of living at Mission of Hope is $600 per month($1600 for the whole summer). Additionally, if he raises greater than that amount he will get paid (up to $1,500 per month), which he intends to put towards paying for continuing his schooling.
- You can give to him through the Mission of Hope website which is tax deductible (mohhaiti.org/intern_support – make sure you scroll down to “Frantzy Odilon”)
- Additionally, he has to pay for his plane ticket – which we estimate to be around $900. This would not be tax deductible but if you have (a lot) of extra miles or desire to help him get his plane ticket the best way would be to venmo myself or him directly.