Over the years I have helped dozens of orphanages from Cameroon to Calcutta, where in the 1970s I once volunteered in Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying Destitute. I know the difference between service and disservice. But whether Christian or non-Christian when the leader ( in this case GVCM’s head pastor) and volunteers live far better than the orphans they come to serve, then ask yourself, who is the orphanage really for? And when the GVCM’s Haitian accountant drives a nice Montero 4x4, but asks for sponsors at the orphanage’s online site, as does the pastor’s brother-in-law, then what is going on? These are just two examples. And while the pastor and (spoiled) American volunteers live with air-con, screens on the windows of their nice rooms, and eat meat everyday, the 130 Haitian orphans live without all of these. So then what is it all about? Is this a model to follow or to oppose?
I voluntarily came to GVCM towards the end of February 2017 and seeded a nice nursery of 3000 Hawaiian papayas in grow bags at their 40 acre farm. One papaya in the area costs over 125 Haitian gourdes, or about $2. And the kids at GVCM rarely eat any fruit. Soon I began some investigations into disparities and irregularities I was witnessing.
The end of my time at GVCM suddenly happened March 5th, 2017, ironically about one hour after the head pastor gave his sermon. A US woman volunteer said something to the head pastor about certain things I mentioned, though I know not what. And once before she lied to me, so who knows what she said?
Suddenly, much to my surprise, the head pastor approached me seething in anger. He told me to leave immediately. Going then to pack my things he followed me to my room. But within a few seconds he violently attacked from behind and pushed me very hard sending me stumbling forward. Then he threatened to call the police and have me thrown in jail. “For what,"I asked? On my way up the stairs to my room he grabbed me from behind again almost making us fall. Again he threatened to have me thrown in jail. He refused to let me get my things and told me to leave without them. Of course I refused. Finally he and the woman, who precipitated all this, got my stuff and took it down for me to pack. “This is how you treat someone, who has just spent some days seeding 3000 Hawaiian papayas,” I ask the head pastor? “I don’t care about those papayas,” he barked back. Then when leaving I was refused exit by the orphanage’s 24 hour guard armed with a stubby 19 guage shot gun. Only when the head pastor gave him permission to open the huge steel gate could I leave.
The Friday night before the head pastor slept in Port-au-Prince’s 5 star Marriott Hotel, which overlooks one of the world’s worst slums. When departing I wished him, ”Enjoy the view!” And the night before he and his brother and two other pastor-d-zastors paid another hotel $320. I refused and slept outside, which they didn’t like. But while they spent over $500 for two short nights, yet the orphans have no fans and screens on their windows to keep out the hoards of mosquitos. I guess the head pastor feels he is entitled and learned all this from his father, who also runs an orphanage in Haiti. But one can one expect from an orphanage named after Haiti’s horrendous Citadel, whose 19th century builder, Haiti’s king Henri Christophe, murdered thousands?
So now I know that the man Ron, whose post GVCM people try to disparage, is correct.