Sophie Vachon- On Sunday we all went to Mass which was held at the school due to the construction of the church; and our whole group got front row seats. I didn’t have to understand Creole to notice the beauty in the service. The choir of about fifteen young children could out-sing an entire mass at the cathedral; and they did it without microphones. It was inspiring to see the community’s faith in action. I especially loved how proud the people were of their “Sunday-best” clothing, and still don’t understand how they keep their clothes so white on a mountain coated in red dirt. It was so humbling to hear the gratitude that Father Gilbert expressed for himself and his people. It was an experience I will hold near to my heart and never forget.
Miriam Brooks- Yesterday we took a day of rest from our work to do some sight seeing around Seguin. Everywhere we go, the view is different, but always amazing! After Mass, we spent several minutes taking pictures with the children, all dressed up in their school uniforms. Afterwards, we drove up the mountain to “Ryan’s Peak.” When we arrived there, we were up high enough that the mountain was engulfed in a cloud. When the view cleared, it was amazing! We were surrounded by mountains and overlooking a deep valley spotted with little houses. When we were done, we drove further up the mountain into the forest to a beautiful waterfall/ river area. On the hills surrounding the river, there were huge aloe plants, and we were all looking forward to putting some on our sunburn. (Note of advice: Never put Haitian forest aloe on your sunburn- it will make it burn/itch even more!) The endless beauty of Haiti will never cease to amaze me, and I look forward to continuing this inspiring experience!
Mary Hanks- What a great day! We went and delivered water filtration systems today. It was quite the hike but what an amazing countryside! Although it was hard to look up as I needed to constantly look down as the footing is very tricky. Each household had to explain how to use the system, The women were very shy but also proud as they explained each step. Sometimes they would forget the pills but as soon as they saw them, they would remember and explain where the big pill went and where the small pill went. We also brought along tarps. I noticed a house (made out of cornstalks) that needed one. As we were unfolding the tarp, the woman of the household came running and clapping and smiling as she saw what we were doing. I looked inside and noticed they had a tarp covering the bed but now the whole house is covered. It was a moment that definitely made me tear up. We did put the miles in today and I feel like the first week of volleyball practice just ended, but words cannot explain the smiles and thanks and gratitude of the families we touched this week.
Patrick Truskowski- Yesterday we got up and went to Mass. It was interesting listening to Mass in a different language but enjoyed it. The kids sang beautifully and they thanked us for coming at the end of Mass. Today was fantastic! We brought people water filters and they were overjoyed when we did. We walked for miles but the looks we got when we arrived were well worth it. While walking I was holding kids’ hands and they never wanted to let go. They were so cute and smiled every time we smiled at them.
Lauren Buczkowski- Yet another amazing day in Haiti! Today we put tarps over cornstalk houses. Although the walk was long and tiring, it was worth it. We saw many smiling faces and cute little kids.
Chris McWain- I don’t know where to begin about the past 2 days. Well, today we put tarps over homes that needed them to prevent leaking. It was one of the experiences that my Boy Scout knot tying came in handy. At one of the houses, there was the cutest little puppy( I believe tichyen in creole). At the first house we went to, it was owned by a blind friend of ours named Roger. At the house was a baby that couldn’t have been more than 2 months old. We all got to hold her and she made even me melt when I held her. My heart and prayers go out to everyone in Seguin, especially the beautiful newborns.
Ruth Vachon – Words and pictures will never be able to express this experience. I have been so humbled and I know I will never be the same person in so many ways…We stayed the first 2 nights in Port au Prince. On Friday we took the 8 hour drive up to Seguin, 2ish hours of which were a bit nerve racking. Literally driving on rocks (of which most roads here are made of) one lane and treacherous…I will not lie…many prayers were said in my head! Saturday and today we spent bringing water filtration systems to the parishioners’ houses and installing tarps on peoples “huts’ (houses) so they would not leak. The poverty is unbelievable, the people are so grateful and the children cling to all of us at every step. Today one of the children said “ I wish I was white like you so I would be happy” 🙁 Sunday we had the pleasure of attending Mass. Our interpreter shared Father’s words in English to some of us as he spoke. His enthusiasm and love for these people shined with his words and expression. We had the pleasure of listening to the choir sing with beautiful voices and faces!!!! I have never seen happier children…again…humbling… I have shed many tears of happiness and sadness. We have made many new friends from Michigan and Haiti. We had a beautiful hike yesterday and saw unbelievable waterfalls and scenery. We are definitely not lacking exercise, we have climbed for hours up the steepest mountains I have ever climbed as we delivered our goods! Tomorrow, our last day here, we get to spend the morning with the children in school and finish tarping.
Jennifer McWain: I have been reading the blogs of the others in our group and I think our group has done a great job trying to convey the experience. But in reality, words cannot completely explain the experience. I just want to thank all of the parents for sending their high school students on this trip. They are a wonderful, energetic, faith-filled group of students who have taken on every task and adventure without any hesitation. They are all truly brothers and sisters in Christ. I am blessed immensely to be here with this group. Right now they are on the porch with many of the Haitian kids teaching them dance moves and how to play Go Fish. Shout out to Tim Ryan for the many, many hours of work he puts into organizing this trip and making it an amazing adventure every moment.