GAiN staff moved to look beyond her skepticism
While Lindsey Schacter, the LIFE Team Manager for Global Aid Network, and Walter Isaak, a LIFE Team member helping with the construction at the Ca-Ira orphanage, were sitting outside a construction store in Leogane, Haiti, a put-together gentleman in his thirties approached them and started talking.
With decent english, the man began to tell his story. His house had been destroyed in the January 12th earthquake and his family had been killed. Left with very few belongings, he had made a temporary shelter out of a tarp.
To make matters worse, the shelter he had grown accustomed to over the last ten months, along with the little he had owned, was washed away by hurricane Tomas that occurred on November 5th, which was just three days prior to the chance encounter with Lindsey and Walter.
Thankfully, a pastor had given him food the day before, but this man was hungry and desperate. He only had a five gourde coin in his pocket, which was equivalent to about ten cents USD, and had sat outside the construction store all morning wondering what he was going to do for shelter.
Lindsey sat there with her backpack filled with all sorts of things that she thought were important. Yet, here was a man who had lost everything! “I didn’t know what to do,” shares Lindsey. “The unfortunate reality is that his story was the same as thousands of others and how did I know he was telling the truth.”
Sitting there confused and skeptical, Walter and Lindsey talked through an appropriate response to the situation. After a few minutes, Walter simply leaned over and told Lindsey, “sometimes it’s better to err on the side of generosity”. This was the confirmation she needed. It was a phrase that Lindsey vowed she would never forget.
With a shift in her heart and a desire to reach out and demonstrate love to this man, both Lindsey and Walter went inside the store and pulled together $20 US between the both of them.
They bought a bright blue tarp for $15 US, agreed to give the gentleman the remaining five US dollars for food, and Lindsey gave him a sandwich-size Ziploc bag of trail mix that she had in her pack.
His reaction relieved any doubt that Lindsey was feeling about his story. “The gentleman looked at this tarp like it was gold,” shares Lindsey. “His eyes filled with tears as he hugged the two of us and cradled the tarp like a treasure.”
After telling him that God loved him, Lindsey couldn’t say anything for a few moments but instead watched as the man slowly walked away, still holding his tarp and staring at it in shock. “That moment, his reaction, is something that continues to stick with me,” shares Lindsey. “To me it was something so simple, yet to him it was a home."