Faces of Kansas City: Man providing for local, Haitian family - KCTV5

Faces of Kansas City: Man providing for local family and Haitian family

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One local cab driver wishes there were more hours in the day so he can help even more his Kansas City family as well as those he considers family back home in Haiti.

Jacques Senat knows Kansas City streets as well as anybody. As a cab driver, he's been to just about every neighborhood in town.

"I came here with a friend to study the Bible," Senat said.

More than a decade ago, Senat was enrolled at Kansas City College and Bible School. His goal was to learn how to build and run a ministry, but waiting wasn't an option. 

In 2009, Senat started an orphanage in his hometown of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

"You see children begging in the street, it's not a good thing. You feel like you want to help more kids," he said.

But running an orphanage takes money. Senat had to put college on hold and work two jobs to help support his wife and two kids who live in Kansas City, with the rest of his paycheck going to Haiti to house, feed and clothe 12 children.

Then, just a year later, catastrophe struck when more than 200,000 Haitians were killed in a devastating earthquake.

"Still very bad, very bad, very bad. People are still living in tents [with] no water, no food no jobs. Everything is chaos in Haiti," Senat said.

The kids in his orphanage survived, but the building did not.

"It's destroyed. We couldn't live in there anymore and I had to find a place to put the kids," Senat said.

The only place he could find or afford was his mother's home, which is where the orphanage remains today. Estelle Senat is now visiting her grandchildren in Kansas City, but said she can't wait to return home to Haiti.

"She says she don't like to leave the orphanage kids to come here. She wants to go back for them," Jacques Senat said as he translated for his mother.

Jacques Senat's goal is to rebuild his orphanage, which is why he works incredibly hard.

"Twenty hours a day, yes. I don't even have time for my family," he said.

Jacques Senat has promised himself and his wife that will change, but for now, he's living his life based on the lessons learned from his mother while he was a boy.

"And I ask her one day, ‘Why do the kids don't have the same opportunity I have - to go to school and to eat like I do?' She told me, ‘Because they don't have a mom and dad to care for them,' and that stuck in my head for a long time," he said.

When Jacques Senat began the orphanage he had to drop out of college so he could work two jobs. He still needs two semesters to complete his degree, which he said he will do at some point in the future.

Click here for more on Jacques Senat's orphanage.

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