Haitian orphan making college dreams come true in Weatherford

Print
Email
|

by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 7:33 PM

WEATHERFORD -- The Haiti earthquake of 2010 killed more than 200,000 people -- about ten times the entire population of the City of Weatherford.

What a transition to come from that world to this one.

"I love it," said 24-year-old Vanah Paul. She just finished her first semester at Weatherford College.

"I get 3 B's, and one A," she said.

Not bad, considering she speaks mainly Haitian Creole, knows nothing of her mother and father, and arrived here in December with little knowledge of plumbing or appliances. Or anything Texas, for that matter.

But her passion for airplanes and talent for math stood out to Christi and John Barnes.

"You could tell in her eyes there was a lot of hurt there in her past," John Barnes said.

The Barnes left Parker County for missionary work in Haiti about a year after the earthquake.

But when they met a group of orphans too old to live in orphanages, they decided to create a home for them. They called it the House of Moses.

"They know how to survive. So now, you add unconditional love in a safe place," Barnes said. "It's a recipe for blossoming."

Vanah is blossoming. "It was hard to trust before I met them," she said.

She admits she was a tough kid on tougher streets in Haiti, trusting no one. But the House of Moses got her to Texas on a student visa.

And now her eyes redden when she talks of teachers helping her succeed.

"And tears come up," she cries. "I can't believe it."

That's easy to believe, considering how far she's come in so little time.

Vanah said as a child, she used to watch airplanes fly over her orphanage, and dream of somehow making them a part of her life. She wants to get into aviation engineering.

That dream is starting to take off in a small school in a small town in Texas.

She has received two $1,000 scholarships, but fundraising efforts continue.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

Print
Email
|