She's 'Mom' to the kids in the orphanage these days, but in many ways I find Gertrude to be so much more.
She is a prayer warrior, an encourager, a spirit-lifter, a role-model, and a follower of Christ.
When she found out I loved her cooking, she took it upon herself to take a normal meal and turn it into a masterpiece.
She used the skills and the means that God had placed before her, and she found her own unique, creative way to bless and encourage the people around her. I think her cooking could grace the cover of any Haitian cuisine magazine.
She was too shy to let me take her picture and would always turn away, and although the shot below isn't crisp and tack sharp, it's one of my favorites of Gertrude. In the waning light of the late afternoon, I found her in her home, chopping away to make yet another special meal for us, and all with a smile on her face.
On the night we left she made my family a special dish to take with us on our journey. It was a french-braided hot-pocket of sorts, a work of art in my opinion. The next day in the airport when I realized I'd accidentally checked our traveling money inside our luggage, it was Gertrude's supply that fed my family and nourished us for breakfast and lunch. It was bursting with flavor.
The granola bars that were in our backpack became our supper, and by the look on my daughter's face, they was no match compared to Gertrude's hand-crafted creation. She made them out of love, and we will never forget Gertrude's Blessing.