RVA in Haiti: An unexpected gift on the island nation

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (WRIC) – With the sound of singing voices, the first day of Vacation Bible School in Haiti begins for 200 children, ages 5 to 11.

Back in 2008, Jude Adouard was just beginning Vacation Bible School. It was then that he met a special volunteer – a teacher from Richmond.

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“He was the same age as my son and we just kind of connected,” said Toni Allen.

For five summers Allen has visited Haiti, always keeping in touch with that adopted son. Not even a language barrier was strong enough to keep them apart.

“Sometimes with the email, I only get a few words and understand a few words, but it’s enough for me to respond,” Allen explained.

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During their first face-to-face in two years, like any mom, Allen has some important questions. Like, how is school? And, are you allowing a girlfriend to distract you?

Through an interpreter, this was Adouard’s answer.

“She knows my mind is focused about school only,” Adouard, now a youth leader, said.

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Many of the volunteers have built similar relationships over the years, And, that’s what keeps them coming back to Port-au-Prince.

8News’ Ava-joye Burnett is in Haiti with ten other volunteers from Richmond. Today, they volunteered at an orphanage. She’ll keep sharing those stories with us all week. Follow her adventures on social media using #RVAinHaiti.

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