Thursday, August 26, 2010

My little brother

Some of you may remember that as I left Haiti back in March, I had pledged to help sponsor my friend Fredo for medical school. While I was back home, I emailed a group of people that had already expressed interest in helping him and everyone seemed to be on board. As I was researching his possible schools and trying to put a budget together, I got the best phone call from Haiti. It was Fredo, calling me at work to tell me he had won a scholarship for medical school in Taiwan!!! Apparently the Chinese embassy offers these 5-year scholarships, with everything paid for, including airfare, tuition, room and board. The only condition is that the students must return to Haiti to practice medicine.

Fredo had heard about the opportunity from a friend of his who had won the scholarship a year ago. About 200 students wrote the scholarship exam with Fredo this year and guess who the first one to win the scholarship was?? Yes, my kid brother!!!! I was floored when he told me. I was so proud of him for winning and it gave me goosebumps to know that his whole future had just burst open.

I spent quite a bit of time with Fredo this summer. He introduced me to his family and friends as his sister and I introduced him to all my friends as my little brother. Whenever I needed him, he was there to help me out, pick me up or drop me off wherever I needed to go (I stopped taking motos here [after working in neurocognitive research, I was way to aware of the possible consequences], but he was the only person I trusted enough to take me on moto). I helped him with some translations as he put his papers together. He would message me from PAP every time the next step in his preparations would be completed and he came to the guesthouse to show me his brand new passport so that we could cheer together. He still needed help to get things for his trip, like suitcases and proper clothing, so his friend, D. Pelletier, and I (along with a couple of my friends) were able to get him enough money to buy most things.

Fredo left for China this past Friday. He asked me to come with him and his family to the PAP airport to drop him off, and though I wasn’t able to go, I was incredibly honoured. He had a going away party and his mother insisted I come just so she could be with me for a few minutes – I felt like a part of the family. Then Fredo dropped me home and we hugged and we cried. Fredo won’t be able to come back until his studies are finished. Five years sure is a long time when you’re saying goodbye.

But what promise is held in this goodbye! Way to go, Fredo!!!!!

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