Plan International has just opened a new office in northern Italy, further extending their charitable reach in Europe.

Many years ago, in Hamburg, I read a book by Mario Vargas Llosa about the Hispaniolas and decided to adopt a little boy in Haiti – with the help of Plan. What did I expect? Trendy cocktail receptions? The association made it very clear that their biggest concern is the children, and I was impressed by the flood of information concerning the hard work, the new plans, and much, much, more.

First I was introduced to the little boy I was adopting, Evins, and his family. Evins was born in 2001, the youngest of 5 children. His father does not work, and his mother is a peasant farmer. The family lives in a house made of adobe with a corrugated metal roof. To obtain water, they have to travel to local rivers, streams or springs all year round. The latrine is an open field or a public area.

What Plan did in 2012

Fortunately, Evins is healthy and has not suffered from serious illnesses – so he can attend school. He likes school, the new uniform and the shoes he wears. In his leisure time he likes to play soccer.

The area where Evins and his family lives is in the north east of Haiti. It is a mountainous area with fertile land. Crops grown here include corn, peas, manioc, and bananas.

Plan International - fighting for the children

Life is anything but easy here, especially when the winds blow, depositing layers of white and grey dust on everything, causing respiratory problems and eye infections amongst the locals.

The area also reflects the diversity of religion within the island of Haiti, with Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, Penetecostals and Adventists, all living side by side. In addition there is also Voodoo.

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The earthquake in 2010 threw the island into chaos. Fortunately I received letters from Evins – ‘I am very well even though we had a big disaster in the country‘, ‘My family and I are very glad to receive the presents you have sent me‘, ‘I don’t know how to thank you…’. For the rest of us, it’s worth remembering that we live in one of the most divine and privilieged places on earth.

All images courtesy Plan International

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