When we first met Evensky, he was shy, quiet, and kept to himself. While other kids came running to join an activity, Evensky watched from the sidelines. He had friends in the group and wasn’t afraid to join; he’s a risk taker and the clown among his peers. But despite his outgoing personality, Evensky is someone who will sit back and watch how others engage before he decides to jump into it himself. This piece of Evensky’s character would shape his relationship with us: slowly building trust before deciding that this family of students, teachers, and staff would be a place to call home.
Evensky grew up in the small village near our school. At Evensky’s birth, his parents were surprised to find that they had twins, but Evensky’s brother was stillborn. A few days later, Evensky’s mother passed away. Though he was only an infant at the time, these events would shape Evensky’s personality and future. He grew up in a two-room house with eight older siblings, getting lost in the shuffle and making his bed in a blanket of dirt on the ground. With his dad at work, Evensky wandered alone and began cooking, washing, and doing other daily chores at a young age. After six years in school, he only reached a 1st grade level because his education stopped and restarted as his dad struggled to provide for his uniform, books, and tuition.
Throughout the years, Evensky watched as as we began construction on our first school and opened the doors each year to a new set of students eager to learn. He didn’t ask to attend our school right away. He watched and slowly engaged as he felt comfortable, measuring us up to see if he belonged. Over time, through the sharing of meals, helping on campus projects, playing endless games of soccer and dominoes, and celebrating holidays and birthdays with our team, Evensky found a place in our community and hearts. When it came time to invite Evensky into our school as a student, we could tell by his excitement and eagerness that he found our school to be a special place.
The presence of our team in Haiti has changed the trajectory of Evensky’s life. By stopping and re-starting school so often, he was on a path of being permanently dismissed from school by 6th grade. Now, his spot at One 17 is secure and he will be one of the first in his family to graduate from high school. Our students, teachers, and staff are on the frontlines of welcoming new kids to our school, but more importantly, they are modeling God’s desire to welcome us into His family. Each day at school, Evensky learns what it means to be part of God’s family and step into God's calling for his life.