It was a couple of weeks after the earthquake whken word began to spread in a small, poor village here. American missionaries, a local emissary told the people, were offering to take children to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic and give them an education and a better life.
After the earthquake, which destroyed so many schools, the prospect of an escape for even a few of their children seemed like a blessing.
The fliers that the missionaries from New Life Children’s Refuge brought to the village of Calebasse promised a beautiful place for the children to live.
Some 20 children from Calebasse, driven by their families’ desperation, took a bus ride that would be the beginning of a bizarre journey that has landed the 10 missionaries in Haitian jails.
Arrested with a total of 33 children, the 10 Baptist missionaries from Idaho and elsewhere were charged last week with child kidnapping and child smuggling. They are due back in court this week.
But, no one appears to know if the 33 children eventually would be put up for adoption. Since the arrest, these children have been living just outside Port-au-Prince in an orphanage run by the Austrian charity SOS Children’s Villages.