I have traveled the world, from Africa to Central America, but I have never been so struck by beauty, poverty, fear and hope as that I experienced in Haiti. I am still processing all that I have seen in my short time there and reflecting on the wonderful friendships I have started.
I went there for a number of reasons. Chiefly among them being: to do some fact-finding for the people of St. Paul’s and to continue a partnership with the parish of Christ the King in Lahoye that our church had begun supporting last year. I was the first person from St. Paul’s to visit the main parish of the Holy Spirit in Lascahobas and its satellite parish in Lahoye.
From my perspective, there are so many challenges that the average person faces every day. Everywhere I looked I could see a need unmet or a task that needed to be done. Yet by just being there I could see the hope that my presence brought to our partners. I spent a number of days visiting with teachers, parents and children at a number of satellite schools run by Fr. Milor and was amazed with how little they had to work with. They lack most of the basic material items that we use each day, but came to school cleaned and pressed to share an inspiring greeting.
One of the greatest experiences that I was able to share with the teachers and children was the gift of music. I brought fifty plastic recorders with me and was lucky enough to play and start the process of teaching teachers and children to play these simple instruments. Music is such a large part of the spiritual life in Haiti, and it was a pleasure I will not soon forget. In addition, I was moved by close harmony female singing in several church services.
As I continue to process what I have experienced and come to terms with it, I have been able to determine that there is so much more that we can do to expand and build our partnership. Some of those things are very small, other will take a lot more time and effort to achieve. Like my new friends in Haiti, I share their hope that through this partnership we can improve their daily lives and they in return can provide us with the lasting spirit of God’s grace.