Jessica Langevin is the project coordinator for the Greta Home and Academy in Haiti.
Every project has a thumbprint, a legacy the project hopes to one day leave behind. Each morning I wake up with dreams and visions of change, love, and impact I can bring to this community and the people I work with.
Yet day-to-day life in the field with any type of work brings an array of challenges and struggles, some days even causing me to question my purpose and mission. I wonder if and how what I do today can impact the future generation of a nation of people. More than anything, I hope and pray that the seeds I sow now will reap a harvest for the Kingdom.
When the Greta Home and Academy opened its doors in December 2012, it was easy to see the impact this place would have on the 70 children who call this building home. We knew we wanted to provide for these children emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We knew we wanted to ultimately grow them into Christian leaders who could change Haiti by bringing the light and love of Jesus to their nation and even to the world.
What we had yet to see was the bigger plan God had been developing all along. We may have been building a home and school for these specific children, but God was building something bigger, something that could reach even further into the hearts of our community.
On October 1, 2013, the Greta Academy welcomed 48 children from the local community into the school. With this came the greatest opportunity to show our neighbors what really goes on inside our walls. We wanted them to see beyond our beautiful structure and into the core of who we are and the God we believe in.
Education is a vital part of development for Haiti and its people. It’s the opportunity to teach these children not only math and science but also fundamentals like reading and writing that can be life changing for the students and families in our area.
For Noel Elenx, attending the Greta Academy has made all the difference for him and his family. Noel lives in the Leogane community and previously attended another school nearby. His father died when he was young, leaving his mother alone with five children. Despite this tragedy, this bright third grader currently has one of the highest grades in the school and enjoys learning something new every day.
“I love to learn so I can become a great person,” Noel said.
His favorite subject is math, and he hopes to one day become a doctor. His sister, Janaka, also attends the Academy as a first grader. Her favorite class is Bible because she loves to study the Word of God. Janaka and Noel both agree they love coming to school every day.
“The teachers here know how to teach,” Janaka said. “I learn so much in each class.”
The Greta Academy is not just school for these two children. For their mother, Desir Eugenie, it’s a livelihood. Desir has been the Greta Home and Academy nurse for two years now, helping to take care of our children and staff each day. Before coming to Leogane, Desir lived in the Dominican Republic and worked hard to provide for her family.
“My children were not happy and life was very hard for them,” Desir said. “Now they make better grades, are at the top of their class, and are happy. I can see now that they are truly happy.”
Like any loving mother, Desir prays her children will grow up to be whatever they desire, and she prays they do their part to make their country a better place. All three of them are currently taking English classes for staff and students offered by the Greta Academy and enjoy practicing it at home together.
It’s amazing to see a school being so much more than a school. Beyond being challenged academically, the students and staff at the Greta Home and Academy are being taught and shown the Word of God each day. They are learning about God’s love for them and for Haiti.
Elenx and his family are just one example of the way God has used the Greta Academy to minster to the people in the Leogane community. Each student brings with them their own history, family struggles, and story of victory. It’s for that reason that we do what we do each day: trusting that our God directed steps that will lead to amazing things! That is the Greta Academy’s legacy.