Sons, Not Thugs.

Sons, Not Thugs.

sons, not thugs.

Last week we closed on the property! The Marketplace Gonaives is in our hands. After almost 3 years of work, process, doubt, fear, more work, more help from much smarter people than we… we now have the document that says it is ours. Problem is, the property has sat empty for 12 years.

Not empty exactly. Lack of formal activity invites a world of the “informal”. It had become a passageway of sorts from the neighborhood behind to the main road in front. And there were folks living in the shadows, collections of things in piles, a business used the front corner, and a small group of merry men had claimed the back corner of the building where the huge warehouse cast a generous shadow from the afternoon sun.

Did I mention that they were “merry” men. “High” is another term that could be applied. But this band of young men were not so merry about us buying the place. They met the new owners (us) with disdain, suspicion and accusation. Because in purchasing this property and beginning the beautiful transformation process, we, in essence, were taking their safe place and cool shadow.

The first few nights there was a break in to the building, doors stolen, wires attempted to be pulled. The “security guard” got scared and left! And in our minds and with our words they quickly became the” thugs” against the back wall, smoking dope and saying bad things.

Not our best few days.

As you can imagine, the thought of going to a place…a place we are so excited about, but to go there and have to face bullying forces made it a bit of hell on earth.

Til the other day, As I was waking I got this thought. What if they are actually sons?

Not thugs.

What if they are beautiful kids the father is searching out. Inviting in. What if each individual young man is full of gifts and inspiration and history and future. What if?

What if you call them sons, not thugs; in your mind and with your voice? And when you see them you think …Hey ! There are the sons!

That would shake things up a bit.

Having a few sons of our own…I speak from experience when I say, every time a son shows up, we are happy happy happy. (thank you, duck people)

So, I said to my beautiful husband when he brought me coffee. “what if they are sons, not thugs? “ hmmm? “Yeah, I think God just told me we’re supposed to call them sons. Not thugs.”

That’s crazy talk. Let’s do it.

So I get the ideas, Beaver walks it out. He went. He talked to the sons. He got back “resumes and references” from each one that wants to join us in this work. Today, they are starting….( to be continued … )



  • Dear Kathy,
    These stories bring me to tears. I can hardly look at anything on your site without being inspired and remembering God’s great love for Haiti, and even my own as I’m back home at this time.
    We met on the beach at Kaliko this May. I loved hearing your story (and your dreds). With many changes in my life, finishing graduate school, moving, and a new job- I just recently looked up your company and site. (And posted your link to all my social media. :) ((I’m a tall woman from Oklahoma who speaks French.))
    Your products, stories and sharing of your blessings with the Haitian people is so wonderful and deeply close to my heart. I’ve been to Haiti the last 3 years and very deeply hope to return soon. As yours, the country and people are emblazoned on my heart now and it’s too late to “go back”. Hope to reconnect! Au revoir !
    The Lord bless and keep you, Market Gonaïves And friends- And make His face to shine upon you!

    Marisa Patrick on

  • Kathy, this is so similar to a story we have from Bon Repos. We had some “thugs” who were angry with us “blans” being in Bon Repos and building an orphanage. Our leader when to him and offered him and his friends a job. Soon after we left David was saved and then baptized in the ocean! We praise God for all He is doing in Haiti and me and my partner are so glad that we will be joining you in the selling of 2nd Story Goods soon! May God bless you all!

    Mandy Forbis on

  • What an inspiring story. I can’t wait to find out more and if you were able to hire them.

    Karen on

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