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Ouachita Stories


From the "Ouachitonian": Emily Watson

Emily WatsonDecember 22, 2021 - Emily Barton

Previously published in the 2021 Ouachitonian yearbook

One family’s dream to help a country that they do not even live in has encouraged their daughter to lead a life in the same servant-hearted way.

Emily Watson’s family owns Joyhouse Coffee Company, a premium Haitian coffee company dedicated to providing joy with every cup of coffee. Being a part of such a special exchange represents everything Watson loves.

“Working directly with people in Haiti is incredible. It still feels small to us as we would like to impact so much more, but we know every little bit helps,” said Watson, a freshman nursing major from Springdale.

What started with a mission trip to Haiti for Watson’s father spurred an international outreach relationship. “The idea of Joyhouse Coffee was born [in Haiti]. My dad was sitting on the roof of JoyHouse Ministries when he felt compelled to do something to help,” Watson said. “My dad immediately took the idea to my mom and together the dream of Joyhouse Coffee was on the road to becoming a reality.”

The Watson family wanted to ensure the largest impact would be made on Haiti through their involvement. The coffee bean farms are in Haiti which permits the company to employ locals and gives local Haitians the opportunity to roast, package and ship the coffee straight to America. It’s a process that allows Joyhouse to impact as many people as possible.

“My life was immediately changed when I first went to Haiti. It is very humbling going to a country where families are starving, people are rioting in the streets and there’s no structured healthcare system,” Watson said.

Watson volunteered with doctors at a pop-up clinic which provided simple medical help. She encountered many families who were struggling and was able to provide even just a small relief to them.

“It is so easy to become caught up in our society where everything is so accessible. We really are very fortunate, and many people don’t see that,” Watson said. “My heart broke looking around seeing all of these broken and helpless people.”

The country of Haiti had been in turmoil, even more so after the outbreak of COVID-19. Joyhouse worked with other non-profits in Haiti to provide job training to help Haitians know how to start small businesses and has provided medical care.

“This business has transformed the way I see the world; it represents compassion and opportunity. I’ve seen that when given the opportunity and encouragement, people will rise to the occasion and help others rise along with them,” Watson said.

Having come from a long line of healthcare workers, Watson chose to major in nursing so she could show the love of Christ through helping others. During a medical mission trip to Haiti, Watson saw firsthand the impact each nurse and doctor actually makes.

“My time in Haiti on that trip sealed the deal on being a nurse,” Watson said. “From then on I knew that God’s plan for me was to be a nurse so that I can show his love and compassion during the best, worst, happiest and most sad times in people’s lives.”

Photo by Hannah Smith

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