Eugene Cho

the haiti jump rope champion

One of the highlights of my time in Haiti was meeting many kids during our brief trip. There’s something about kids that are so very inspiring, uplifting, and even heartbreaking. We heard some painful stories about the suffering of kids – as a result of the earthquake but even before the quake – but one of the things that most encouraged me was the sense of “hope” I saw in the faces of the kids.

I had the joy of getting into a jump rope competition and yes, I should have let the kids win but being the competitive guy that I am, I sucked in the pain of my both of my Achilles tendons and was declared the Haiti jump rope champion. Check out the jump rope video below and sadly, the stark statistics impacting the current and future generations of Haiti.

Let’s do our small part to work a  more beautiful, just, kind, and compassionate world. Still doing some research about how we can participate in the “next steps” in helping Haitians rebuild their country.

Consider some of the these statistics impacting the children of Haiti:

  • Gross national income per capita is US$520, about half the total for Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Americas
  • 78% of Haitians are poor (less than US$2 a day), and more than half (54%) live in extreme poverty (less than US$1 a day).
  • In rural areas, poverty and extreme poverty rates are estimated to be 84% and 69% respectively.
  • Over two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs.
  • Half of children under 5 are malnourished.
  • Over 7% of children die at birth.
  • For every 100,000 births, 523 women died in Haiti, compared to eight maternal deaths for every 100,000 births in Europe.
  • 80 out of 1,000 Haitian children never see their first birthday.
  • 50% of primary school age children are not enrolled in school.
  • One-third of girls over six never go to school.
  • Approximately 30% of children attending primary school will not make it to third grade; 60% will abandon school before sixth grade.

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8 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    It is amazing how resilient children are. Your post is a timely reminder of the need to pray for Haiti and to continue to look for ways to help.

  2. Derek Sciba says:

    You have got some mad skills, Eugene. Even turning along with your jump rope partner. A good reminder of the people we’re trying to look out for in Haiti.

  3. danderson says:

    I’ve been down to Guatemala twice in the last four years. We took down jump ropes both times. It’s a great ice breaker and community building activity and a way to cross cultures.

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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