You may know that Rachel and Eldon were in Haiti from 1974 to 1987. For some of that time, Rachel hired a Haitian woman to help her about the house as was the custom for Americans. This woman was like an only sister to Rachel. She had a husband and a little son named Kenson, who was a companion of Rachel’s two sons. When Eldon left Haiti for good he told Kenson that if he ever needed help to go to school he would help him.
When Kenson had exhausted all real educational opportunity in Haiti, he happened to meet Hannah Hoover who was studying French in Haiti as part of her education at Earlham College. She encouraged Kenson to contact Earlham College, but the person he contacted at Earlham advised him to go to Goshen College. Kenson remembered the Stoltzfus family in Goshen so he contacted Eldon to ask if he remembered the promise he had made to him ten years ago. “Yes, I remember it,” answered Eldon. Kenson’s response was something like, “Now is the time.”
So in 2004 Eldon and Rachel welcomed Kenson Theus into their home, and helped him enroll in Goshen College. They helped him write his first college papers in English. He graduated from Goshen College, and he and Hannah continued friendship.
Hannah was the daughter of Jeff Hoover, a master builder and contractor for large construction projects. Kenson learned many skills from his father-in-law.
After graduation, Kenson worked for Jeff in the Hope Builders Group and became a Concrete Artisan and Dry Stone Walling Professional for the Elkhart Area. He was also a founding member at Rise Up Farms in Elkhart, Indiana. He learned such things as organic gardening techniques, and management of honey bees.
In the meantime Hannah Hoover was continuing her education at DePaul University and worked in Chicago. Kenson followed Hanna to Chicago where they were married. Kenson was trained to train others in container gardening on city rooftops. A hospital gave him its roof top as a training site.
The lives of Kenson and Hannah took a quick return to Haiti when Hannah received a Fulbright Scholarship to work with the Haiti Department of Health to take steps toward universal health care for Haitians. There they learned of what seemed to them to be injustices sometimes perpetrated by both US and Haitian governments.
Currently Kenson works for USAID in Haiti and is a Site Supervisor and Engineering Assistant at AECOM – Haiti Health Infrastructure Program. This means that he oversees the construction of hospitals on behalf of USAID and the government of Haiti.