It was our last day in Haiti, and a grinning boy on the schoolyard plucked a photograph from his front pocket.  He held up the photo of an American girl. And my mama-heart swelled.

The girl in the photo? She’s our oldest daughter, Lydia.


The sweet boy: Romario.

He’s 11 years old, and he lives with his family in one of those temporary blue tent-shelters that Samaritan’s Purse set up after the earthquake in 2010. That was nearly four years ago. The “temporary” tent is still Romario’s home.

But there is hope for Romario. He finds hope inside his mountaintop schoolhouse, where the walls are painted the color of hope: sunny-yellow.

Hope is a sharpened pencil and an arithmetic book and chalkboard at the front of every classroom.

Hope is a classroom full of rambunctious preschoolers praying before lunch.

For Romario, hope is a friend named Lydia.

Hope isn’t a silly notion … it’s an actual place