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Laura Silsby and nine other Americans from Idaho were arrested and detained in Haiti on charges that the group was attempting to abduct Haitian children. The group, representing Central Valley Baptist Church and Ms. Silsby’s charitable organization, claim they were taking the children to the Dominican Republic to start an orphanage. Haitian officials counter that the group did not have proper documentation and were warned not to move the children or face arrest. The case is still pending. Group members have been charged with child abduction and criminal association.


  1. Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, describe Laura Silsby’s motivation for going to Haiti.
  2. The article describes Ms. Silsby as having considerable financial problems back in the United States, including having her house foreclosed upon and her business being in jeopardy. What level of needs (in Maslow’s categorization) are represented by these? How do you reconcile Silsby’s motivation for going to Haiti with this? Does it make sense in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy? In what ways might ERG Theory offer a better explanation?
  3. Consider Ms. Silsby’s experience in Haiti. If she avoids prosecution and is released from custody, how likely is she to continue her work in Haiti? Examine her motivation using Expectancy Theory. What elements would contribute to her motivation or lack thereof?

SOURCE: J. Millman, J. Ball, & M. Schoofs, “Missionary Stumbles on Road to Haiti,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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