Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: Finding Chika

By Lynn Willoughby

Finding Chika ~ Mitch Albom

Albom is a sports announcer, journalist, author and talk show host.  When the 2010 earthquake decimated Haiti, a local pastor was the guest on his radio show in Detroit.  John Hearn Jr was very concerned about a mission he supported in Port-au-Prince.  He was unable to get through by phone and was very worried about the children there.  Albom decided to get involved and it changed his life forever.

Chika Jeune was admitted to the Have Faith Haiti Orphanage after her mother died.  Albom and his wife Janine support the fifty or so children there.  These children are the family the Albom’s never had and they travel down once a month to see them.

At age five, Chika is diagnosed with a life threatening brain tumour.  Mitch and Janine bring her to Detroit, hopeful that American medical care will get her back to Haiti as a healthy child.  Instead, Chika becomes a permanent part of their family as they embark on a two year journey to find a cure.

I loved the way Albom sets up the chapters of this little book of non-fiction.  They are titled – “Us”, “You” and “Me”.  He is an excellent writer and this book had me alternately laughing, cheering and sobbing.

Readers will remember Albom’s best selling memoir of all time “Tuesdays With Morrie”.  Morrie Schwartz is dying of ALS and the memoir how to die touched people around the world.  “Dying is only one thing to be sad about, Mitch.  Living unhappily is something else.” has been a quote I try to live by at all times.  Another is “Is today the day I die?” and to live each day as if the answer is “YES”.  Particularly pertinent in these times I think.

  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven
  • One More Day
  • and others

Who Knew?

In 2006 Albom founded SAY Detroit, which now oversees nine full time charities in the Metro Detroit area and in 2010 he began operating the Have Faith Haiti Orphanage.  

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