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Franckys Coming To America

I couldn’t help but think of the Eddy Murphy movie this morning as Francky (Neg Pam) Janvier said goodbye to Betty his wife and was on his way to the US after 6+ years of dedicated service to Be Like Brit in Haiti and the USA. Francky is a Rock Star at Brit’s Home, he is the first face you see at the bottom of the Escalator when you arrive at Haiti’s airport and the last face you see when you get ticketed at the Port au Prince airport when leaving Haiti. Francky’s job is to drive and take care of the Britsionary’s while in Haiti, a most trusted job by me, Papi Len. Francky’s story does not start there, it starts almost 7 years ago when Bernie, Ross, Gama and I landed in Grand Goave to start construction of Brit’s Home on 12-24-2010. Gama who was my Everything the first year in Haiti brought Francky to the job site on his Moto, on almost the first day. Francky was our Gofer, he would go for this and go for that. By the end of the first week, Francky had painted his License Plate to say Be Like Brit, he wanted to be part of the BLB Family! I was touched and came to realize it was a sign of respect he was showing all of us at Be Like Brit.


The next year was challenging to say the least, from starting our own block factory with Lex so that we could make US strength block, to finding a certain tool or piece of steel, Francky was on it, going for this and that. In July of 2011 we started to come out of the ground with the block and Francky would climb the security wall with my phone and take a photo in the same location everyday so that we could track the progress. As I started to get to know Francky, I met his wife Betty and his baby daughter Sarafina and saw how much he loved them both. Now Francky is Francky, so to be full disclosure I was impressed by his warm heart and tender touch to his little girl and the way he treated Betty with respect. In the Fall of 2011 I gave Francky a book on learning English and it came with a DVD. Now, I gave these to about 5-6 of my workers who I saw had a future at BLB. Francky started to learn English, he took initiative and started speaking English, little by little and his friendship with my nephew Patrick really helped. While building Be Like Brit in 2011 and 2012 I came to realize that Francky had many characteristics that I needed in someone close to me to have, like a loving heart, being humble, empathy and compassion for all and most importantly being Trustworthy. I decided in 2012 to send Francky to Driving School, he knew the laws of the road and just needed to be schooled in driving a vehicle. Then I took over and started teaching Francky defensive driving and how to anticipate an accident, he picked right up on it and was really good…


At the end of 2012 Francky became the Ambassador of Brit’s Home. He welcomed Jonathan our First Program Director with open arms and a Great Friendship evolved. Francky was handling 2 guys, Gama our Operations Director and his life long friend and Jonathan our Program Director. Francky was always flexible with schedule, time to work, always working and looking for positive affirmation from me, Gama and Jonathan. In 2013 and 2014 when Jonathan and Mami were out finding true Orphans in a 50 mile radius of Grand Goave, Francky was there driver. He saw horrible things, cried to me on occasion and became more committed to our mission, day after day. As Be Like Brit started to gain it’s strength and voice in Haiti, so didn’t Francky. He brought value and was a trusted team member. In 2014 Francky became the driver for the Britsionary Program as he had really picked up English as he used the DVD and book I gave him years ago and studied and studied until it became second nature.


2015 brought on more responsibility for Francky and he rose to the occasion, he was our daily photographer at BLB for a couple years now, He was our #1 driver and was our go to guy. It was at the end of 2015 that I realized Francky would make a Great Britsionary Director in Haiti. He had evolved and became the Rock Star that he is today. He and Madona (our nurse at the time) started training in 2016 to be in charge of our Britsionary’s time in Haiti. He was so loved by all the Britsionary’s he just became their trusted, go to person. I promised Francky for many years to take him to America, but he had to get a travel visa first, which is not easy to get in Haiti. Francky went time and time again over a two year period, 4 times and $165 each trip to no avail. Mami Love had come into the picture at BLB and her and I decided to go to the embassy and talk to the folks in charge. After that on his 5th trip into PaP to the US Embassy, Francky got his long a waited Visa this fall. Then Francky did something wrong at BLB and made us all go thru a very rough and trying time, one that tears at your soul...


“The days are long in Haiti and there is never enough time in them” rre
Let me explain a few things about living in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, it’s not Easy to start with. Haiti’s Cultural Core Values are not the same as ours in the USA, another words, leave them on the Plane when you arrive in Haiti if you are an American. How about an example of that? 5 years ago I was having lunch with a retired nun who lived in Haiti for 20 years, so I asked her what would she do differently today, than she did 20 years ago in Haiti, she said simply, “Leave your Core Value’s on the Plane” I was like what? I don’t understand please give me an example and she said this. 20 years ago if someone stole from me in Haiti, I would banish them from my compound for good. After 5 years in Haiti I realized that the reason why someone steals is not to get money to buy drugs, it’s to feed their families, which I got after living in Haiti for a couple of years.

Sometimes, I have to make very tough decisions as Co-Founder and President of the Be Like Brit Foundation. As Papi Len, some of those decisions revolve around our kids and their well being and other times it has to do with our 100+ workers and what they have done wrong. I want you to picture yourself living in Haiti and then walking thru the gate at Brit’s Home where there are rules that say, you can’t hit a child, you can’t hit a woman, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t, get the picture, so how does a Haitian change their cultural values for 8 hours a day when they enter Brit’s Home? We are blessed with so many helpers in America who travel to Haiti and help us educate and train our staff as to what is appropriate behavior in front of a child and what isn’t? Remember, these are our values as this is our home and not there’s… Francky recently spent two months outside the gate, yes he lives in a blb home next to BLB and yes he still got paid, but he had to learn and understand that for every action there is a reaction and after his 3rd write up, I had to make a very trying, challenging decision even though Francky is a Rock Star!!! It was a not a popular decision with our 1000+ Britsionary’s who Love and Adore Francky, it wasn’t popular with the staff who Francky does so much for, it wasn’t popular with past employees who love Francky and had to deal with him before over these same issues. It’s Francky, they would say! I will never divulge what Francky did, his dignity is my priority as is all my other staff and children’s dignity. But I will say the punishment will have a lasting impression on Francky and as a Father figure for him, I want my Haitian son to understand there are consequences for everything you do in life, no matter who you are! Being Papi Len isn’t always about taking photos with my children, it’s about being responsible for almost 200 people at Brit’s Home and making sure they all have their dignity intact, each and everyday at Brit’s Home.


This morning I took Francky into the US for the first time, he has never flown, he has never left Haiti to go to the Dominican, so it’s his first trip out of Haiti. Some of you reading this may ask why is Papi doing this for Francky? It’s simple, it’s the same reason why I put Francky outside the gate for 2 months, because I Love Francky!!! I promised him for the past 3 years that I would take him into my world, so he could experience first hand, the abundant life we have in America. Francky’s eyes lit up like a child on Christmas morning when he saw the USA for the first time, I wondered what was going thru his mind, was he happy he painted that Be Like Brit on his License Plate some 6 years ago? He shared with me how proud his parents were and how happy his brothers are for him! Yes, Francky and I are our even sitting in Business Class thanks to all my points on American Airlines. I hear Francky on his phone with his brother telling him in Kreyol that he felt like a Millionaire, Like a Bourgeoise, well Francky to the 1,000 plus Britsionary’s who’s heart you have touched you are richer than any Millionaire we Know!
Keeping the Faith in Haiti and the USA…