“My mom was an orphan.”
This was the answer I received when I asked Gigi Polycarp, the founder of “Kay Betleem” (Bethlehem Home) in Jeremie, Haiti the reason why she returned to Haiti after living in the United States most of her life. “To provide a real home for true orphaned children where they can feel loved,” is her greatest desire for every child she has taken in over the years.
Gigi was born in Port–au-Prince, Haiti and moved to the United States in 1985 where she spent the next 10 years furthering her education and living the American life. One night, Gigi had a vivid dream where the voice of God was calling out to her, and He told her that she had been chosen to return to her hometown and rebuild it. She was very moved by what God was telling her about helping her own people in her home country. Gigi had also discovered that her mother was an orphan and this further inspired her to walk in faith to make a difference and answer His calling. Sometime after this, she started participating in mission work with an organization called GO Ministries. She returned to Jeremie, found the house for the Bethlehem Home, and she started fundraising to fix it up so it could be a home where children would feel safe, nurtured, and loved. God supernaturally provided funds for the home and Gigi’s dream of “Kay Betleem” (Bethlehem Home) became a reality in 2009.
During the beginning months of preparing the Bethlehem Home, Gigi received a phone call from someone who wanted to bring her a child who needed a home. Her name Jessika. Jessika’s mother had died when she was 2 years old, and her father had never lived with her. She came to the home with a bad skin rash which turned out to be a result of worms living inside of her intestines. After many hours of prayer and visits to the doctor, Jessika started to get better and thrive at the home with Gigi. Today, she is a joyful and energetic 8-year-old girl who loves to run, laugh, go to school, and has a smile that could light up any room.
Jessika was joined by three more girls and two boys soon after: Sabrina, who lost her mother in the earthquake of 2010, Aseli Chrislane, Viky and Gabriel. All of the children love each other very dearly. They do everything together and are the best of friends. It is evident that they feel safe, and are well taken care of in this home because of the intentional and unconditional love provided by Gigi.
One frequent issue that the team in Haiti has experienced is the townspeople wanting to "ba'w" (give you) their children. While out and about in the town, Gigi and her team have had many townspeople insist that they take their children home. This is one major reason there are so many homeless children wandering the streets in Haiti: because parents don't want them. Gigi is going against the grain of culture, showing people what it looks like to have the children in Jeremie experience love and know they belong.
Gigi says that it is by the grace of God that she has this home and this opportunity to love these children. She wants them to grow up to be leaders in the community and to also follow in the footsteps God placed in front of her when He asked her to help the people in her country. Despite the many challenges of living in Haiti, (lack of consistent electricity or running water, and the ever increasing need for funds to maintain the needs of the home) Gigi trusts in God for every provision. “He has always come through for us.”
Despite all of the challenges she has faced, Gigi’s heart is full of joy with the souls God has faithfully entrusted to her. She trusts in His provision for them, she trusts that He will bring more orphans to her door, and she trusts in His love for her and the children.
“I have faith He will always provide for us.”