Jaachide, Leader of the Silent HeroesIt is hard to describe what a city full of rubble, tents, and pain looks like but it is even harder to describe how it feels. The continual view of destruction and loss is painted with the smell of the daily, relentless struggle to survive. After a while it can begin to feel like you are floating in a sea of grey cinderblocks, twisted rebar, bright tent tops, pollution and smoke, But you aren’t – you are living and walking among people who have experienced more loss than you can wrap your mind around, more pain than you care to dwell on, and a daily wrestle with survival.The city sounds and sights began to fade as we headed down that long country road toward a small, virtually obscure tent town of another kind. As we got out of the truck and walked across the little makeshift bridge over the stream we didn’t know what to expect. Despite the heat, the wind, the dry air and the flapping tent covers, there they stood – waving, smiling and singing their hearts out. There are 34 of them now at this site and all 34 of them are without a possession in the world. But here they are safe, they are loved and they are given hope to heal and dream about tomorrow.Many of the children at RÃÂªve Timoun are earthquake orphans. Some of them are there because their parents had to give them up, most of them lost both parents on January 12th, and all of them are without a home to return to. But they aren’t without hope or love, and that is perhaps what sets them apart as the lucky ones. As we introduced ourselves to the staff and the children, shouts of excitement erupted when they discovered the soccer ball, the cookies and the Coca Cola that we had in tow. It seemed like a humble offering on our part, but for them it broke up the monotony of another day and brought treats that they rarely had the opportunity to enjoy.Jaachide came forward and shook our hands, welcoming us to their new home. Jaachide didn’t lose his family in the earthquake, nor did he lose his home. He saw a need and realized he had nothing to lose – only everything to gain. He is the director of this tiny tent city of 34 kids and 10 adults and all that he does is full of a grace that is matched only by kindness.Before the earthquake Jaachide was an administrator in a church in Croix du Bouquet, on the outskirts of Port Au Prince. He had a secure job that was Monday to Friday. His time was his own and his space was his own. It was a simple life, but it was his. When the orphans began to trickle into Kay Papa Nou, run by his brother in law, David, Jaachide woke up one morning and realized where he needed to be. Jaachide gave up his job, his home and all of his personal conveniences to live among these kids and the workers, in a Coleman tent that is blue with a grey tarp. Here he helps to provides education, direction and a father figure for children who need him.Sitting with him outside his tent, I asked him why he would do this. You know what he said? He said, “These children are hurting. Many of them still cry because they miss their parents, their home and what they used to know. Some days all we can do is offer them love, affection and hope. They need to know that they have a place where they belong and where they are safe.”The sun was burning my feet and the wind was making my hair into a crazy tangled mess, but all I could feel were the tears that ran down my face as I sat there, absorbing the level of pain that had been met with an intense level of compassion and in that moment I was humbled. On that barren field we were among children who were learning to laugh again, and always they were surrounded by a small, committed army of silent heroes.And we had the chance to stand among them.The staff at RÃÂªve Timoun live, eat and sleep in the tents with the children. They have set up a small school on their property and the children are continually reminded that they are not forgotten. They sleep four to a tent, with an adult in each one. Personal space or belongings really don’t exist, but together they survive and together they are learning how to move past survival into a future of hope.Currently, LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) is in Haiti for our first Hero Holiday. We believe it will be the first of many. To find out more on how to get involved, go to the Hero Holiday page at www.heroholiday.com. If you would like to help us to continue to help the children of Haiti, please go to www.livedifferent.com/donate and designate it to Haiti Hero Holiday.