A Story of Change: Fritzner & his family
Dear Friend to Haiti,
We hope you and yours are well and thriving. We’re writing now to share a brief story of change from the community of Bawosya, Haiti – the home of our flagship school, the Children’s Academy and Learning Center.
Fritzner (pictured here with his wife, Mirlège, sons Monroe and Lens, and daughter, Anne) was just a boy of 12 when I (John) first met him. Like many children in Haiti, he had a hard life. His parents were poor and apart. Neither could afford to care for him. Another family–our neighbors–took him in as a child. He worked for them domestically. At 15, he was allowed the chance to start school.
Fritzner learned resilience and grit growing up. Each day he scaled the local hills carrying – on his head – water in buckets and helped his host family with the heavy chores of rural living in Haiti. Nonetheless, he was always enterprising. When we married and Merline moved in, he offered his services to us to earn extra cash to go to technical school while also attending high school. He fetched water for us (we didn’t have plumbing at the time). Since cooking, dishwashing, bathing, and washing clothes was all done from buckets, our water needs grew. His earnings from various small jobs enabled him to continue his education well into secondary school and to also become a skilled mason. Given his beginnings, these were major accomplishments.
It’s not surprising that when it was time to marry, Fritzner turned to us. He asked if we could help with his wedding and reception at our guesthouse. We decided to make it a gift to honor his accomplishments. It was a glorious celebration with more than 100 people.
Later he was trained by our partner, Extollo, as part of the 13 member parent team that built the second building at the Children’s Academy. He also was part of the team that constructed our guesthouse.
Today Fritzner is employed at the school part-time. While working in construction, we learned that he displayed great attention for detail. He took a special interest in plumbing, the way water pumps work, how to maintain diesel generators, and the like. He liked things done right. We’re blessed to have him maintaining our water filtration system, diesel generator and plumbing system at the Children’s Academy.
Fritzner, now 34, is the proud father of three beautiful children – all of whom he and his wife are able to raise on their own. The two boys, Monroe and Lens, are enrolled at the Children’s Academy. When recently asked, this is what Fritzner had to say about the education his children are receiving:
The education that Monroe and Lens receive at the Children’s Academy is beyond what I would have ever dreamed. Academics, while important, is only part of it. I love watching how my children relate with others, their compassion and empathy. I learn with them about good nutrition, caring for the environment and permaculture gardening techniques. At a young age, my children are learning the importance of building and improving our community. It brings me hope knowing they’re going to be part of changing our country. Haiti will have a future president from the Children’s Academy.
Thank you for your interest in Fritzner, and his story of change.
With love and gratitude,
John and Merline Engle for Haiti Partners