So many of Jedilo’s dreams once seemed impossible. Then they became improbable. Now they look inevitable. Where does a young Haitian summon the willpower to make impossible dreams inevitable? Maybe it came from watching his daddy try to scratch a living out of the soil from sunup to sundown. It’s not easy being a subsistence farmer in an underdeveloped country. Jedilo’s father worked feverishly to bring in enough crops to put a leaky tin roof over his family’s heads and some food in their bellies. He battled infestations of worms and insects, earthquakes, hurricanes, and torrential rains that turned his fields into rivers of mud. If he managed to eke out a harvest, Haitians didn’t have enough money to pay a decent price for his produce. As a result, Jedilo often went to bed hungry and to school empty-handed. No one knows what gives a kid that extra something to rise above his circumstances. Surely, he got his willpower from his hard-working daddy. But his ability to dream the impossible came from some mysterious source deep within. It allowed him to rise above the poverty of his family, and above the rest of his classmates. It drove him to get a university education which he financed by working long hours at all sorts of odd jobs. His entrepreneurial spunk propelled him to start his own radio program. Along the way Jedilo mastered English, which makes him a sought-after translator for business people, educators, and missionaries. The need for those skills first brought him onto the beautiful campus of The Place of Hope. Seeing this bit of paradise, in the midst of an island nation that has become an ecological nightmare, has reinforced Jedilo’s commitment to change Haiti—and save the oceans of the world.
He is working on a nationwide recycling plan that will give Haitians the financial incentive to clean up the mountains of garbage that line their roads, as well as millions of plastic bottles that flow down their streams and rivers onto beaches and into surrounding seas. Jedilo is well aware of what Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Oceans Futures Society has discovered: per capita, Haiti flushes more plastic pollution into the seas than any other nation on earth. Jedilo’s visionary work has earned him a coveted Fulbright Scholarship. He was recently chosen from among thousands of worldwide applicants to be one of a select handful to come to the United States to study. Fulbright Scholars are branded as “international students who exhibit extraordinary leadership and innovation.” Jedilo Bel would be the first to tell you that the 3.5-acre campus of The Place of Hope is a prototype of what Haiti can be. Miracles can still happen. They do every day at The Place of Hope. Certainly, Jedilo would thank all of Andre and Angie Forges’ generous partners for helping to create a bit of paradise where Stories of Hope can be written.