“Dèyè mòn gen mòn” is the most common saying in Haiti. It means behind the mountain there are mountains. Many translate this to mean behind this difficulty there will be more and life is always full of trials. However, I believe there is something that runs much deeper in it. Let the phrase soak in a bit. I see an absence of hope. I see a cry of a country whose back was born against the wall. It speaks of a constant, never-ending cycle of unfortunate despair that one cannot avoid. It speaks to an absence of hope.
In the bible, mountains nearly always represent an immovable obstacle. A huge mound of rock and dirt that usually serves as a deterrent to one’s path. In order to conquer it, you must either dare to go over or around it; either of which is barely better than returning from whence you came. It is a test of one’s fortitude and strength and will to succeed. Jesus said that if a person had faith only the size of a tiny grain of mustard seed, they could say to the mountain to be removed and cast into the sea, it would be done. Mountains are a problem. They are progress thieves. They are thieves of hope.
Hope is defines as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” Imagine the person in prison with NO HOPE of parole. Imagine being hopelessly lost in a place you aren’t familiar with. Imagine being diagnosed with a disease for which there is no known cure. Those moments are real and they exist for people around the world on a daily basis. Being robbed of the opportunity to FEEL expectant for something positive to happen for you is tragic. We know the expectation of a child and how we dream and long for the moment of realization. Unfortunately, there are some places THAT feeling is accompanied by one of dread and fear. “Dèyè mòn gen mòn”.
This is the life is Haiti. Something as simple as anticipating a new life being brought into the world in a country already starving living in abject poverty can be devastating. Yes, they love that child but the dread of knowing if that child will survive and if it’s life may cost the entire family their lives because of the burden of supporting it seems to eclipse the anticipation. So is the way of Haiti.
Our organization works with orphans. Unfortunately the scenario I described is one that contributes to an already difficult problem. Many of the orphans in Haiti are not orphans because of the death of their parents. They are victims of a society that has little opportunity and even less HOPE. There is one child in the orphanage we help support that has fifteen siblings yet he is the only one in an orphanage. Parents often see a ray of hope in letting them be cared for by an orphanage that relies on the charity of organizations like ours. Often, it is merely a slower way to the inevitable- a hopeless life.
Renise is a little girl that is a perfect example of the hopelessness of Haiti. She was found by Mama, our director while walking one day. She had been recently born and was left in some bushes by the road. She was only an infant and the only home she has ever known; the only mother and family she has ever known is Mama and Voice of the Children. I feel if we do not offer her hope, she may never have any. We want her to realize a life where she doesn’t have to contemplate a thing such as was done to her when it comes time for her to have a child.
Hope should be available to everyone. I believe God has refined our roles in Haiti to be facilitators of hope. We are to encourage and create opportunities for hope to grow in the lives of these children. We have a plan for this. The ingredients are unconditional love, the good news of Jesus’ finished work, food and shelter and education and opportunities to discover hidden talents and grow and develop them. Most of these things are taken for granted in the United States because they are our normal path for a young person. But in Haiti, they need our Helping Hands.
Will YOU help us restore hope? Our new mantra is Dèyè mòn, se espwa….that is, behind the mountain there is hope. Help us give them hope.
…We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us… Romans 5:3-5 NLT