A lifeline of hope when it’s easy to give up

Change is always possible. Change is happening all the time. I know. Because I see it.
Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom

January 21, 2023

Not long after this new year began, I got a rather dispiriting letter from a doctor who has worked in Haiti for a number of years. He said he admired what we were doing at our orphanage, but he felt that all of our efforts were “in vain.” 

He said the situation continues to get worse in the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and that “nothing had really changed” and nothing would.

Now I understand glum assessments of Haiti. Anyone who has walked the streets of Port-au-Prince (if they dare) has seen the destruction, depression, endless poverty and constant danger. Gangs run amok. People live in fear. The government, what little was left of it, just shrunk down again — to a single person. A prime minister, Ariel Henry, who has done little beyond keeping himself in office

But I will differ with my saddened medical correspondent in one way.

Change is always possible. 

Change is happening all the time.

I know. Because I see it.

Sa ou fè se li ou wè — What you do is what you see

I see it in our precious little Nadie, who came to us at six months without ever having tasted food, just sugar water. Her eyes were closed, her body fit in the palm of a hand. The diagnosis was severe. The prognosis was dim.

nadie piano
Nadie at the piano

But today, thanks to your help, and the kindness of a few American doctors, Nadie is a thriving little girl, 13 months old, 17 pounds, with enough energy to speed across a room on all fours, enough strength to lift herself and walk along couch edges and cabinet doors, enough intelligence to distinguish her nose, mouth and ears if you ask her, enough language skills to squeal out “Up!’ and “Wa-ba! (water)” and “bye bye” and “night night” and “Amen” after putting her hands together as if praying.

That is change. 

I see it.

I see it in the new kitchen that you have helped bring to life. The walls are now done, the ceiling and plumbing and electrical complete, an adjacent bathroom constructed, a pass through window to hand out enough food to feed 100 people is finished and beckoning. 

There is no comparison between this spacious new kitchen and the cramped, steamy, bug-infested space we had been using. Every time I see our cook, Chef Harry, he smiles and puts his hands together and gushes, “Mesi, mesi.

Thank you.


IMG 5876 kitchen featured

How the new kitchen started…

How the new kitchen is going!

Pitit se richès malere — Children are the wealth of the poor

safety car blurred
An essential safety car

I see it in our ability to consider transportation once again, thanks to the generous contributions donors have made to purchase an armored vehicle. Sure, it’s sad that you have to have bulletproof steel to feel safe driving around the city. But is it better to hide inside, never get to the hospitals, supply centers or food stores that your children need? 

That’s how we had been living. Now we don’t have to.


I see it in Louvenson, a 17-year-old who had been fainting from a racing heartbeat multiple times. Doctors in Haiti could do nothing. But through your help, and the fine doctors at Mott’s Children’s Hospital, we were able to get him thoroughly checked and tested. He’s going to be fine. He even got to try an American sandwich and get to see a college campus.


Finally, most of all, I see it in the ever-growing bodies and developing faces of our smallest children. Even coming to Haiti every month, the changes I notice in our infant population are huge. Suddenly, this 2-year-old is speaking English. Suddenly this 1-year-old is walking on his own. Suddenly, this little boy who was covered in scabies and nearly comatose from malnutrition is laughing and holding our hands and taking first steps.

Change? Life is nothing but change for the under-three population at the Have Faith Haiti Orphanage. And if we are able to complete our nursery and hire a specialist to run the program, it will change yet again, into an even more caring, nurturing center for  the ages that need tenderness the most.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose finite hope.


So I have to say to my dispirited reader that while frustration in helping a place like Haiti is accurate, honest, and to be expected, you should never give up on change. To do that is to give up on hope. And to do that is to give up on life.

We’re not going there. Too many promising things. Too many new smiles. Too many frist steps. Too many people saying “mesi, mesi.”

As the fairy godmother once sang in the Cinderella musical, “Impossible? Things are happening every day.”

They are.

They are. They are change. I see it, You can see it, too. 

You just have to believe.

A Year of Thanks & Giving

Project #3: A Nursery

Mission to

With your help, we can move mountains

Support the continued building of a new home for Have Faith Haiti through the Mission to Move Fund this Giving Tuesday.


  1. Kari Lyons

    Yes, yes, yes! The changes in the lives of Haiti children is miraculous. Thank you Mitch, for caring so much. May the doctor begin to see all that is being done!

    • Patricia Murphy

      For each child that has been helped their lives are changed forever. In a sea of humanity it can be hard to see. Saving, helping even one child changes the world’s potential for good . Thank you Mitch for helping

    • Shannon

      Your work is amazing and brings tears to my eyes!! God bless you and don’t ever stop!!

  2. Gail curi

    Beautifully articulated! Every life you have saved makes a difference in the circle of life even if we do not understand “how”.
    Never give up!

  3. Theresa

    Well yeah you have to stay optimistic. The kids are thriving and happy and you will make that orphanage a really wonderful place for the kids to live. That is a big change that will benefit those that cross your path. That is just a small segment of Haiti and you can’t fix everything. I am sure there are other groups there that help Haiti the best that they can. You help the very best that you can which is a lot. Agreed there is always hope and keep the faith that it will be better there one day.

  4. Annette Sites

    My heart is warmed every time I read your letters to all of us. The changes Have Faith have done for these children is a miracle in itself. How many of these children would of died or been disabled if Have Faith hadn’t changed their lives? God bless everyone there and beyond & I’m blessed to be a small part of this precious home for these children. Thank you Mich for your wisdom & patience in this wonderful endeavor.

  5. Tracy Nanni

    Thank you Mitch for all you do to help make this world a better place.

  6. Jennifer Pierce

    Hi Mitch,

    I think the work you are doing in Haiti is amazing. I am grateful for it and that is why I support your mission financially. Every little bit helps, I know.

    I wonder if you are familiar with the idea of earthships? These amazing self contained homes are made from recycled materials (garbage, essentially) and while the method may not be suitable for your orphanage it would certainly bless many that live with nothing in Haiti.

    This cnbc clip explains. I hope you will learn about this building method and bring it to Haiti! Heck, I wish I could do it here in Michigan!


    God bless.

    Jennifer Pierce

  7. Linda

    Dear Mitch,
    Thank you for the eye opening report. Wow! God is working miracles through our collective faith in what you are doing. I’m so grateful that I can contribute monthly. May there come to Haiti an equally impressive change in government.☮️

    • Rita Kerr

      How amazing are your accomplishments in the face of so many obstacles.

      You are a special individual that I admire for the love and care you show for others
      who are helpless and so fragile.
      You show us the way to always keep hope alive.
      Thank you Mitch !

  8. Valerie Tverberg

    Wishing Gods richest blessings on all of your endeavours. What a beautiful mission you have embarked on.

  9. Mallika Jayachandran

    What a wonderful message of hope. Thank you Mitch

  10. Michelle Adamson

    There is always hope! Thanks, Mitch, for loving these kids & their teachers & caretakers & raising awareness for their great needs.
    I am giving as able & praying to be able to give more. The children are worth it!❤️

  11. Rita Kerr

    How amazing are your accomplishments in the face of so many obstacles.

    You are a special individual that I admire for the love and care you show for others
    who are helpless and so fragile.
    You show us the way to always keep hope alive.
    Thank you Mitch !


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