An older man sits on a rock outside a corrugated tin building, with his arm around a young boy as they both smile at the camera.

Davens and his dad Pierre

It’s almost Father’s Day! This year, your friendly reminder to thank your dad for all he’s done for you is brought to you by a little boy in Haiti….

Davens was 12 years old when Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti last year. And it was terrifying. Davens lived with his parents Marie and Pierre and three siblings on the banks of a river, one of the worst places to be in a storm. As the rains lashed the island the river started to rise.

Davens’ dad watched the rising water with concern. He didn’t want to abandon their home and everything they had unless he absolutely had to. But when the roof blew off in fierce gust of wind, he knew it was time.  They were facing an imminent flash flood, and none of them knew how to swim. He made the decision to run.

People walk along a dusty road, with cliff-like walls on either side.

The road in Davens’ village dropped at least 5 feet because of the flash flood.

Clutching Davens’ hand and cradling Sandy, his four year old daughter in his arms, he fought his way through the wind and rain, heading for higher ground. Marie followed with the middle two children. As they ran, Davens clung to his dad’s arm, trying desperately not to lose his footing.

Finally they made it out of flood danger. They continued to climb for awhile, putting as much distance between themselves and the river as possible. Then they hunkered down in the trees to wait out the storm. For 15 days, they stayed up in the hills waiting for the water levels to go back down. Pierre went down to the flooded village every day in search of food and anything to salvage from their ruined home.

The hurricane left Davens traumatized. He still has nightmares today whenever it rains hard or it’s really windy. We asked him what helped him make it through the storm and its immediate aftermath. “My dad,” he replied without hesitation. “I knew that as long as he was with us, we would be okay.”

A women leans her head against a little girl's, looking at her tenderly as the girl grins at something in the distance.

Davens’ mom Marie and his little sister Sandy

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, generous donors like you helped us build a new home for Davens and his family. But it was dad Pierre who got them through that terrible day!

So here’s to Pierre, and here’s to all the dads out there who provide protection and comfort for their kids, no matter how scary the situation. Happy Father’s Day!