Naming your organization after a word in a foreign language is a bit of a gamble. Mispronunciations, questions, “huh?” are typical responses from most people. I’m not mad – I get it. It’s a tough word!
But, it is a word that is meaningful to me. It takes me back to the very first time I traveled to Haiti. I didn’t speak any Creole and I hadn’t been on a mission trip. Suddenly I was in a remote village passing food and visiting homes - trying to process everything I was seeing. Really desperate conditions, extreme poverty, sickness. It was on that village tour that a little girl followed me around for about an hour saying the same thing repeatedly. I couldn’t really make it out but she said it enough times that I caught grangou. I didn’t know what it meant so I just smiled and went on with the visit. At the end of the day I asked a translator what she way saying. He said Grangou means hungry, she was telling you that she’s hungry. Stop.
That was the first time I ever had heard a person who was actually hungry, try to tell me so. I thought about the fact that people on my trip were praying in this village and sharing the gospel but that we were trying to fill empty bellies with words. It broke my heart. These people perhaps needed the gospel, but they also needed food. They needed the very basics first. How could we ignore their physical need, expecting they would listen while they were literally starving? It struck me that we are called to minister to people however they need to be ministered to, not how we want to do it or how we think it should be done. Sharing a meal with a hungry child can be just as impactful as preaching a message. We need to meet people where they are.
So flash forward and my husband and I were walking the loop where we lived a few months later trying to think of the name of our new organization we were starting. And my husband says, “What about Grangou? What about that little girl?” And I was like “done”! So, we settled on Grangou immediately with absolutely no further thought and the rest is history.
Grangou is the Haitian Creole word for hungry and the name of our ministry dedicated to raising awareness about the extreme difficulties of life in Haiti as well as feeding the hearts, minds and bodies of Haitians in need. Our desire is to reach a nation hungry for hope and change; one child at a time.
It is pronounced gron-goo btw.