Max Laforet's Autobiography
This was written by Max Laforet in 2006 while he still was living in Haiti. The purpose of this was to try to get support to further his education in the US. We thought you might enjoy learning a little more about him from his own words.
My name is Max LAFORET, My birth certificate mentions that I was born in Petion-Ville ([Gros Morne]), Haiti in March 19, 1977 but I wasn’t, I was born in Port-au-Prince (Turgeau), Haiti in March 19, 1977. My family is composed of four people, Mireille, Florence and Noë ETIENNE. I also have four half brothers, an adoptive brother and four half sisters, this is such a big family. I am still single and live with my older sister Mireille ETIENNE. I am the only one in my family who is a LDS now. I am orphan of both of my parents; they recently died during the 2006-year. I am done with high school four years ago but had never able to attend college because my mother or I couldn’t afford to pay for costs. I have been working as an educator and a helper as a volunteer since 1997 without the benefit of formal training in education.
Max’s life story
I was born in Port-au-Prince (Turgeau), Haiti in a neighborhood called Blokoss, but now cite Canada where I am still living. I was soon going to be abandoned by my father (Ricard Etienne) when I was two months old. He didn’t want to recognize me as his son and has decided not to give me a birth certificate. My mother used to work as a maid in Petion-Ville, (about 6-8 miles away) she used to leave the house very early in the morning to come back late in the evening. Since she didn’t have time and couldn’t afford to pay the cost to make my birth certificate in Port-au-Prince, she pretended living in Petion-Ville, Gros Morne where she made my birth certificate that’s why it mentions in my birth certificate that I was born in Petion-Ville but not in Port-au-Prince.
A few years after my birth, I was going to be very ill because I wasn’t well nourished. I was sick of malnutrition and kwashiorkor. My body hasn’t developed I was very skinny. I was so sick that all of the villagers thought that I would die; they gave me a nickname called ’’Salopri’’ which means ’’good-for-nothing’’. I wasn’t died thanks to GOD, Jesus has saved my life.
As for my education, my mother couldn’t afford to pay for my school tuitions; I was seven years old and still didn’t go school. In that time, she earns 30.00 Gds per month, that salary was far to be able to meet her needs. She met some good Catholic Canadian Missionaries friends who wanted to pay for my tuitions. I started first grade of primary school at 12 years old in 1988. I was doing very well at school; I was always the first student in my class. After the departure of the missionaries, it would be my turn to pay for my school tuitions. I was in 5th grade when I started to teach other pupils to be able to pay for my education. I was proud to be able to work to pay for my school tuitions. In August 1995 I met a very generous man namely Jim David LOVELAND (a man from Utah) in a Tennis Court where I worked for 4.00 U$ per month as a ball boy. That man has learned about my way of living and my life reality has touched his heart and has decided to pay for my school tuitions and gave lodging to me in his apartment. My life has completely changed since the day I lived with Mr. Loveland. He was going to worry about all of my needs. I attended a good High school (Saint-John) and he has also paid an in English school for me (Haitian-American Institute) where I started to learn English in October 1995. I went from a miserable way of living to a happy life after meeting Jim. I was no longer worried for food, clothes and education.
A few months later, we would move to live in a place called Juvernat, about 4 miles away. Jim got me in contact with some of his friends in Utah, among them a nice woman called Mary Stephen Cluff (LDS Member) and a very friendly girl in her early fourteens called Heather Flanders (also LDS Member) in 1996.
After the departure of Mr. Jim David LOVEAND in May 1997, I returned in my Village where
I saw the miserable children suffering for food, clothes and education just like me when I was a boy. I thought of myself when I was facing the same situation than these children and my heart was very painful to see them go though this miserable situation. I restarted the teaching program to be able to continue to pay for my education. I included the children in my teaching curriculum and made a special class for them for free in the afternoon. Heather and I became very good friends and I used to talk to her about my teaching program and my dreams for the children. This wonderful girl has started to love Haiti and the children as well.
In June 1999, I and my friends and my previous primary teacher have gathered together and have decided to create a formal Organization to struggle in favor of the needy children. We created the Organization and named it OBED (Organization of Charity for the Impoverished Children). Heather has made some contacts in Utah and has introduced OBED to FHI (Future Hope International), a non-profit group in 2000 who would soon start to cooperate with OBED to sponsor sixty-five children down here in 2001.
I am currently working as a volunteer (Coordinator) for HR (Haitian Roots), a non-profit Organization located in Utah that is working hard to provide education to as many as possible of needy children in Haiti. I believe that they are doing a wonderful job and want to cooperate with them. OBED hopes to build its own schools and orphanages in the future where we expect to welcome as many as possible of children with the cooperation of our partners. I have been working as a volunteer as an early English teacher in one of the schools that OBED is supporting for ten months, this school (Ecole Immaculée Conception Lagrotte) is where I attended primary school and I am feeling proud and happy to teach in this school.
I started to work for A Child’s Hope Foundation in December 2004 as an interpreter, English, Creole teacher and as a preschool assistant in their crèche in Lamardelle where Heather introduced me to a wonderful couple (With whom I was going work), Mr. and Mrs. Rue and Mary Nielson. They are both excellent teachers and I had a great work time experience with them in the preschool, English School and in the landscaping with some other volunteers for six months. Mary has convinced me that I was born to be a teacher and thought that it is a gift to be able to assist her in the preschool. I am now making a living with no job I have been jobless for about eleven months now.
I was able to save some money to start going to a formal training school, but I had to use it for the funerals of both of my parents. I am now totally depending on friends and my older sister that I am living with, unfortunately she is also workless. I daily wake up early in the morning to go teaching for two hours, come back home to spend about two hours reading some good books then go to my ward to do spiritual activities and late in the afternoon I come back to the Immaculate Conception school where we, OBED staff always do some school activities with the children that we are supporting three times per week.
I dream to attend college in BYU where I hope to obtain a degree in an education program afterward I can come back in my native Haiti to continue helping in the education field while working for a better education system down here. I believe that it will be a wonderful opportunity for me and for the children if I get a degree in education at BYU, this will allow me to better help the children, contribute making the necessary changes in the education system here and to establish a modern education curriculum in Haiti. I plan to keep working with non-profit Organizations that are working in the education, start new partnerships with the private, public schools and the Ministry of National Education in Haiti. I will want to continue working with all of these institutions to gain more experiences because my biggest dream is to become the MINISTRY of the National education someday.
I expect to receive the support of all of you who believe that EDUCATION is key to development and can change the live of the Haitian Children and who think that they have the right to have a better tomorrow. Thank you for taking your time to read this short biography. I hope that your contribution will greatly contribute to the well being of the Haitian children.