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marcelin.jpgIf you are like me, math is not on your grid: numbers float around, but you avoid them like the plague if at all possible. To those of us on this side of the debate, numbers are cold, harsh, and uninspiring. But many people reading this may be the total opposite: numbers give you a warm fuzzy and their linear definition makes you feel safe and secure. Numbers can paint a picture, but they can never completely tell a story. In the end, above all, numbers don’t lie.marecelins-kids.jpgFrantzo found Marcelin one day last summer, as he was showing some friends of LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) around his village. Marcelin is a very positive, upbeat guy, and he is not that different from many other Haitian dads in his village: he hopes that his kids can get an education, he hopes that his wife is well provided for, and he hopes to live long enough to see his kids grow up. He is a kind, gentle man and he and his wife are always welcoming people into their home. But there is one thing that is different about Marcelin from most other dads in his village because Marcelin lost the use of his legs through a tragic accident. In our world, an accident such as his would have resulted in a long but affordable hospital stay, followed by extensive physical therapy, and resulting in eventually getting his life back. But in his world, medical care was beyond his grasp, physical therapy is something he has never even heard of, and the only place he has known since that fateful day was the dirt floor of his house that is sandwiched to the side of the mountain that looks out over Cap-Haitian, Haiti. Sadly, Marcelin, his wife, and their children are global health statistics, and in fairness to the rest of us, sometimes it can be hard to remember that lives such as theirs are not statistics.Marcelin is unable to do anything for himself or his family – yet. When our friends found him on the floor of his house, confined to a dirty, disintegrating mattress, they were moved to action. A quick trip to the market changed the immediate situation, but Marcelin and his wife needed more. They needed help to build a future for their family and it was here that life began to take on hope. A small financial gift from a Canadian friend helped Marcelin’s wife to start a small business to provide for their family. A sponsored trip down the mountain to the closest hospital helped give Marcelin access to medical care, therapy and medications. Over the past few months, he is starting to feel the return of feeling in his legs and doctors are hopeful that he may one day be mobile. Now, with the help of a Hero Holiday group from Canada that is arriving next week, Marcelin’s kids are going to have a school to go to in the coming months. Hope showed up at his door, and hope is what is going to change his family’s future.mrs.jpgIf you look at the numbers, in Marcelin’s world, it is pretty easy to think you understand: 1 in 2 people in Haiti live on less than a dollar a day, 40% of Haiti doesn’t have access to basic health care, and 80% of Haitians are unemployed. But if you look at Marcelin’s world with the possibilities of hope, the story is very different. The numbers stay the same, but hope is the wild card in the equation. Hope allows for all things to be possible, and for people like Marcelin to not give up.I used to think that hope was a feeling, a good wish or even a desperate emotional appeal. Sometimes it can be unrealistic and sometimes it can be almost nonexistent. But hope is more than these things – hope is about recognizing today’s reality in light of tomorrow’s possibilities. And as long as you have hope you have enough to hang on to for week, LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) is going to be in Cap-Haitian, Haiti, building a school near to where Marcelin lives. Schools change lives and communities because they provide an opportunity for a future that did not exist before. A school may be the result of the Hero Holiday participants’ work in Haiti, but the full effect of what they are going to do is going to echo in years to come. Their lives are changing things in Haiti, but when they return home, Haiti is going to change them.LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) exists because of hope. You can join us! To find out more about how to get involved financially, how to be a part of a Hero Holiday, or how to have us in your community, check out

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: June 13th, 2010