When we asked our Haiti Design team what kind of thing they would like to do in their community, the sewing team almost immediately jumped in about how they all desired to visit a prison. Whether you have lived in Haiti all of your life or even a short time, you have heard the horrible rumors of how people are treated in the prisons here.
“I need to see for myself.”
“I need to see if it’s true.”
“Jesus tells us to go and visit, and yet we never have.”
Those were the resounding forefront responses of our team desiring to go.
We didn’t know what to expect, in fact none of us have ever gone.
Fabienne, our Director of Operations, jumped at the opportunity to serve, and immediately searched out a contact for our team to go with. Fabienne connected with Heartline ministries, and our team went together with them this past week.
“It was so important for our team to go visit this prison- none of us really understood the reality of what happens behind bars,” Fabienne said, “ I think the most important thing our team learned while we there is how similar we all are. The reality is that many of these women that we visited had been in the prison for a really long time and they haven’t even had a trial or have seen a judge yet. There were many women who were struggling with severe health issues like cancer or were pregnant. Having the opportunity to just pray with these women and offer a small amount of encouragement was really humbling.”
As the leader, Fabienne was so proud of how engaged our Sewing Ladies were. They were so overjoyed to be able to help in a small way, and knew how important it was that they share about the need and suffering happening in prisons here.
“While I was there, I met so many women who were just like me, but they were in prison, guilty or not. I felt God pushing me to pray for them, to liberate those who are innocent and haven’t even had a trial.” -Rose Lore
“When I met the women serving time in the prison we visited, that made me really reflect on a lot of things. When I got home, I talked with my children and a lot of other people about my experience. I told them how important it is to be cautious and careful, so that they don’t end up in a place like that.” -Yvrose
“We all sin and we make mistakes.” Fabienne went on, “There isn’t a huge difference. We need to speak out for those who are innocent and are stuck without help, and we also need to encourage those who did something wrong and are now paying the price.”
One of the members of the sewing team, Darline, shared of her experience with many members of our other teams, and that led to some hard questions, and good discussion. Afterwards, they got together, joined hands on our rooftop, and prayed out all at once- for the women they met, the injustice they had seen, and for the hardships of the ones in their own circle.
“Seeing a reality like that, “ Fabienne said, “It moves you towards compassion, and that’s the direction we want to always be moving toward.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Courtney Sanon lives in Port au Prince, Haiti with her husband Jimmy and their two adorable dogs. Courtney is the Social Programs Coordinator at Haiti Design Co. and is also the founder and director of Ansanm Haiti, which supports family preservation and community development in rural areas of Haiti.