As a short-term missionary, I work with special needs children at an orphanage in Ledier, Haiti. Though I’m continually learning the culture and language, I still rely on the help of my translator, Michael, to communicate with the children. Michael’s own story is an incredible one, which I’ve shared with permission below. Being visually impaired and an orphan himself, he has been faced with huge challenges throughout his life that would discourage many in Haiti from striving towards their goals. Yet, he continues to work towards providing for himself and his loved ones. I have created a site HERE to help him achieve the goal of starting his own business in Haiti, selling much needed supplies to those in his village. This would allow Him to become self-reliant, despite his disability, and to support himself and those he loves. Hope for the future is hard to hang onto in a country like Haiti. Yet, a little generosity can go a long way in creating a way towards a successful life for those who live there. Please read Michael’s story and prayerfully consider how you may be able to help…
Michael Roosevelt was born on January 21, 1995 in Gonaives, Haiti. His mother is Haitian and father, a Frenchman. Before Michael was born, his father took in a man from the streets. Michael called this man his uncle. Michael’s father helped the man get on his feet and helped him with traveling to the United States. When Michael was two years old, his father moved to the U.S. and shortly after passed away. After the passing of his father, Michael, his mom and biological brother moved to the U.S. to live with the uncle his dad had taken in and cared for years before.
Three years after moving to the states, in April of 2002, Michael’s uncle gave him a book. An intelligent kindergartener, Michael took the book and began to read. As he was reading, his head started spinning and his eyes started to itch so he stopped reading, gave the book back to his uncle, and said he would try again the next day. When he woke up the next day, there was a crust covering his eyes and when he tried to clean his eyes out everything was blurry. Day by day, his vision kept getting worse and worse. At one point it was only the peripheral vision; that same month, Michael became totally blind. He was taken to a specialist but they didn’t see anything wrong with his eyes. At the age of seven, about a year after the incident, Michael realized he was different. Not raised in a Christian family, he was exposed to Voodoo beliefs and rituals. His mother was being attacked spiritually, and at times he and his brother would stand in front of her and she wasn’t able to recognize them. Growing up, Michael did not receive affection from his mother and his relationship with his brother started changing. In 2008, his brother moved away and, to this day, he still doesn’t know his brother’s whereabouts. That same year, Michael got accepted into a magnet school but wasn’t allowed to attend because one of his cousins, who also applied, did not get accepted into the school.
Eventually, Michael went to see an eye surgeon who diagnosed him with cataracts, and approved him for an operation. Michael’s uncle refused to pay the $3,000 for the operation. When his uncle refused to help with his surgery, Michael became discouraged and started acting up in school. His frustration with not being able to have the surgery caused him to be aberrant and he got himself into a lot of misfortune. After two years of counseling and medication, still angry and no longer feeling safe at home, Michael struggled to talk or express his feelings because he was afraid for himself and his mother. Living with his uncle and his uncle’s wife was a nightmare. His uncle’s wife would abuse Michael physically and emotionally. Till this day, he still has a scar from the abuse.
In December 2010, after his uncle’s wife started hitting him, Michael ran away from home at 2A.M. with nowhere to go. He ran into a friend who allowed him to stay overnight. The next day, every news station had his picture posted as a missing child. When he realized things were getting difficult for his uncle, he got on the phone and called an officer to explain what was happening at home. The officers placed cameras and wires in his uncle’s house to monitor the house. For the first time, the couple was kind towards Michael. Through all those unfortunate circumstances, Michael graduated from high school and went on to attend Florida Atlantic University. Wanting to help others that were going through similar physical and emotional pain, he began studying psychology. He also got involved in church, grew in his faith, and was baptized in February of 2015.
Around this time, Michael’s uncle told him he was finally going to send him to Haiti for eye surgery. Michael, not knowing much about the country, agreed to go. The uncle then paid a cousin to fly with Michael to Haiti. Upon arriving there, the cousin got them a car and drove for about 30-45 minutes. Then the car stopped, they got out, and walked for a while until the cousin told Michael to sit down and wait, because he had to go get something. Taking all of Michael’s traveling documents (passport, green card, ticket, etc.) with him, the cousin left Michael and never returned. Realizing he’d been abandoned, Michael struggled to communicate with passersby. No one would stop to help him. He eventually, found someone to speak with who was a deportee. He stayed with this stranger, who ended up being a dangerous individual. Three weeks later, Michael was shot. He was taken to the hospital and doctors told him that he would be paralyzed. He spent one month in the hospital and then, still immobile, was sent out to live on the streets because the hospital thought he was a deportee. He met a woman who took him to her house and she gave him food to eat. After eating the food, he started vomiting nonstop and realized the woman poisoned him. The way things were going for him, he thought he was going to die. He lay in bed and asked God, “Are you going to let me die like this?” He heard God say, “The time has not come.” Finding out that the woman had given him rat poison to eat, he set out to leave her house. As he was leaving, she sent ferocious dogs after him but he managed to escape. He lived like this, wandering the streets, for some time.
Then one day, Michael met a man who directed him to a place that would mark a new beginning for him. The man told him about a pastor named Yves Prophet from GVCM Orphanage. Michael was given directions to the orphanage, and found his way there all on his own. When he got there, the security guards and school children tried to talk to him but to no avail due to the language barrier. Finally, a staff member was able to help him communicate with Pastor Yves. After telling Pastor his story, twenty-one demons were cast out of Michael. They believed that his uncle gathered the demons to go after him. All of the demons spoke creole and, after Pastor Yves was finished praying over Michael, he spoke to him in creole to make sure the demons were gone. Michael wasn’t able to answer in creole; the demons were gone and he was finally freed.
Michael is still in search of his records. Pastor Yves and the orphanage staff have worked to try to get Michael’s documents back. The embassy states that all of Michael’s information was erased from their systems. They told Michael that his mother would be able to help; unfortunately for Michael his mother is mentally ill and he has no contact with her. Today, he spends his time at the orphanage with his friends, teaching the younger children and translating for missionary teams. He remains hopeful that someday his situation will improve…While he loves helping at the orphanage, he still longs to be given the opportunity to work full-time. His end goal is to help others, while also becoming self-reliant and able to provide for himself and his loved ones. He also wants to prove that a disability shouldn’t stop someone or limit them from achieving their goals and becoming all that God has called them to be.
Michael has been an incredible inspiration, always offering encouragement and wisdom. God has used him as a key individual in my ability to do the work that I do with the children of Haiti and I’d love to be able to help him achieve all that I know he’s capable of. Please considering donating (at https://www.gofundme.com/michael039s-story-hope-for-a-future-in-haiti) , and please pray over this young man’s life.