Imagine entering an orphanage in Haiti. It’s dirty; it doesn’t smell very good. Rats scamper across the floor. Kids are talking and running and playing around you. Some are wearing clothes but the majority of them are only partially clothed or are wearing nothing at all. This picture is a reality in the orphanages that Janika Grimlund encountered while in Haiti. As the the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has certainly inspired compassion in countless people. Janika is one of those people, with a specifically passion for this developing country. Her healthcare background and goals for the future specifically allow her to help those with little access to help. Her incredible desire to help people is both inspiring and remarkably selfless.

Janika has been to Haiti five times. The first two trips were with a group from her church. Those times were what inspired this love for this country within her, and allowed her to make connections with ministries and orphanages that were already well-established in Haiti. Her more recent trips have been of her own accord; she has been mulling over “wholistic child care” and how to incorporate that idea into her life plan. Her vision for this plan has prompted the search for the perfect organization to partner with.

“Wholistic child care” is what Janika has begun to call the idea she has been developing and researching. Her trips to Haiti have caused her to think about what the child care system there may be lacking, and she found a distinct insufficiency in all-around care. Janika hopes to partner with an organization to provide for the medical, spiritual, and emotional health of children. This specific desire was prompted in her by an interaction with a girl named Francesca in Haiti.

13443094_732800340155746_4886348417902432459_oFrancesca had a growth from her belly button that would not be a big deal in any place with reasonable access to medical care. Here, in the USA, it would be a simple trip to the hospital. However, Francesca did not have this luxury. Something that was so preventable had become dangerously out of control. The growth on Francesca’s stomach was getting worse. This memory is the first time Janika remembers distinctly realizing that she could be a servant to the people of Haiti.

One of the most challenging things about adapting to the culture of Haiti, Janika says, was the pace. Haitian culture is very slow, she admits, proving this with a charming anecdote about a guest showing up to dinner five hours late. However, she does treasure the ways that the culture values family and community. “I would love to live in Haiti,” she said with a remarkable amount of conviction. Janika is full of authentic compassion for the people of Haiti. Her selfless, God-inspired passion will be sure to inspire others, as well as lead her to do great things.

Abi Hillrich

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