Bring Good News to the Poor!
Jean and Joy Thomas have lived their lives by embodying this phrase.
They have served the community of Fond des Blancs faithfully, they have taken the road less traveled, they have labored and borne fruit.
"As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Our story. Since, I, Lemec Thomas am the son of Joy and Jean Thomas and am writing this letter, I will share part of their story through my perspective
The early days, finding a home
My parents moved to Port au Prince in 1982. When they first moved they had no idea where Fond des Blancs was. They first believed finding a place to serve would be as easy as pulling out a map, closing their eyes and picking a place. But they soon found that even back in 1982 there were already a number of programs operating in many different locations, some good and some not so good, and they wanted to find a place not yet being served. The key aspects that led to the choosing of Fond des Blancs were that it was not being served at the time and they embodied the spirit of cooperation and motivation necessary to get involved in programs that met their own needs. They had a strong desire to reach self sufficiency. My uncle Paul was actually the one to discover Fond des Blancs and he wrote a report that could describe Fond des Blancs in four words; needs, problems, challenges, and opportunities. I of course have only heard and read these stories. I didn't come into the picture until 1985. The story that has been told to me many times by my mother is that I was a punctual baby, I was born on my due date, January 26, 1985. Apparently I wasn't a quiet baby however, I would not take a binky (pacifier) and would not stop crying until I was held. My poor parents tried to sleep train me once, but I screamed so loud one of the neighbors graciously came over to make sure I was ok. That was the one and only time I was sleep trained.
Springs of life
Now living and starting a family in Fond des Blancs, my parents were experiencing first hand some of the hardship of the community. The first and biggest struggle was access to fresh clean water. They knew this had to be addressed even before moving to Fond des Blancs. A study showed that fifteen percent of babies died at birth and another half died by the age of twelve from poor nutrition and from diseases directly associated with poor water supplies. With a grant of just $10,000 and the might of a unified community, who understanding the importance of the moment, they listened and followed the voice of survival and desire to improve their lives. They volunteered to do the work necessary to bring clean water to the entire community. This water source has survived natural disaster, droughts, and it has never stopped flowing clean fresh water for nearly 40 years. This water source has played a significant role in the communities and my health. It is and was a place to meet and commune. It was a hang out opportunity for my friends and me. We could go fill up water jugs or go refresh and rehydrate after a soccer match. That river and clean water has forever been a source of life.
Boy did I love those little pigs!