The Maison de Benediction celebrated its sixth anniversary this year. Since its opening in 2009, dozens of children with disabilities and their families have been able to benefit from the support and care services offered and the Maison director, Nancie, rightly decided that was cause for a party! The date chosen conveniently coincided with National Children’s Day, so it was a double celebration that the children and their families were invited to celebrate together with Maison staff one Thursday in June.
There were the usual festivities, with some hymns, speeches, songs and dances performed by some of the children and a couple of sketches performed by the Maison staff. It was, in many ways, a fairly typical Haitian celebration and a good time was had by all. However, there were some touching moments among the usual speeches and sketches that gave insight into why the Maison is unusual and why it is truly worth celebrating.
One of the sketches portrayed a family with a disabled child and some of the trials they face trying to raise their child with no outside support in an often hostile environment. The parents in the audience watched this, murmuring to each other in agreement that this was an accurate representation of the daily difficulties they face. Because the Maison does more than provide a respite service to parents; it’s evidence of the fact that there are people that care about them, that understand their struggles and acknowledge their strength and love for their children. The sketch ended with the child registering for the Maison, and there was a poignant air to the applause that followed, as the parents understood the message from the staff who had been acting - the unspoken “we are partners in this. We know it’s hard and we support and encourage you”.
This was followed by a speech from the head administrator of the hospital, who originally worked as the administrator for the Maison. She spoke about how her time at the Maison was special beyond compare, and she named three children who had particularly left a lasting impression on her. She mentioned the joy she experienced from spending time with them, but also from watching them interact with their own parents who demonstrate true selflessness and love on a daily basis.
While the day was officially a celebration of children, at the party it was more a celebration of families. This was fitting as it is what the Maison has always been – a way to keep families together.
Through your support, we are on the verge of being able to extend the opening hours on the respite home which will be a huge step forward in helping deliver a holistic programme of support. But with only a little extra still we could commit to open the home full time. Thank you for everything you have done so far.
Esther in her party frock
Caleb and his Mum