I first met Guerdine back in 2005. I was a college student and she a little girl. As I visited the orphanage where she grew up to disperse flip-flops and play for a day, I am sure neither of us could have imagined that one day we would live in the same neighborhood and (prayerfully) be lifelong friends.
Fast-forward to today and Guerdine is no longer a little girl with ribbons in her hair. Now she is a young woman with a passion for learning and a heart for Jesus. She is a future leader in the making who has potential to be a shining example of hope for so many other Haitian women.
Set to graduate secondary school this summer, Guerdine has consistently been one of the top students in her class for years. She is a more than dedicated student. After purchasing her own solar lamp a few months back she now wakes up at 4:00am every morning to study for the government exams. This commitment to her studies, and her ability to sacrifice sleep (something I have never been able to do) are only a few reasons why I am confident Guerdine is going to make an excellent medical student come Fall.
However, it is not only her intelligence that sets Guerdine apart. She is also a young woman full of faith and a deep hunger for spiritual truth. Studying the Bible each week with Guerdine and the other girls has been one of my favorite experiences here in Haiti. No matter what the topic, Guerdine is always full of questions, always searching the scriptures, always determined to know what is true and obey what is right.
When I sat down with Guerdine back in 2013, right before we all moved from the orphanage to Emmaus House, I asked her what she wanted from life. What were her dreams? Who did she want to become?
I remember her being hesitant to answer, slightly scared to verbalize her dreams out loud. She was a girl in a Haitian orphanage, after all. What were the chances her dreams could actually come true?
After some coaxing on my part she finally gave in.
“If I have the possibility to go to university, I want to become an Optometrist,” she said.
“Why an Optometrist?” I asked while recording her response in her Individualized Transition Inventory.
She replied, “I want to be an eye doctor because I like taking care of people in need. In Haiti many people have eye problems. When they are old often they can’t see well. I want to be able to help them.”
Almost four years later and this is still Guerdine’s dream. She has assisted teams hosting eye clinics, interviewed Optometrists in both Haiti and in America, toured an eye clinic, and visited a university in Port au Prince. She has also maintained high grades in school and has earned Honors Level in the house, proving both her independence and ability to go above and beyond what is required. In other words, Guerdine has spent the past four years hopefully preparing for her dream to come true, and she is now more than ready to take the next step in making it a reality.
Guerdine sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t she? Believe me, she is!
Guerdine hopes to begin medical school in Port au Prince late this summer. In order to do this she will need sponsorship for both tuition and living expenses in the city. We already have partial support raised, but she is in need of an additional $250 a month to secure her future needs.
Helping Guerdine become an Optometrist doesn’t only help a young woman become a doctor. Helping Guerdine is also about investing in her God given talents and equipping her with the skills she needs to help her own country of Haiti. Helping Guerdine is also an encouragement to the growth of the church. So many churches in Haiti rely fully on the financial aid of other churches abroad. That dependency cycle can start to end, however, when its members are financially able to support their own local church. And this is exactly what Guerdine hopes to do. She wants to use her career not only as a way to help herself and give the gift of sight to others, but also as a way to support the church and assist her brothers and sisters who might otherwise not be able to afford eye care on their own.
If you are someone who is interested and able to help Guerdine, please EMAIL me (Jillian) for more information and specifics. I would love to talk with you more about my friend Guerdine and her dreams for the future!