So, in the process of changing the world, our mission group had an exhausting but deeply rewarding day.
Our two groups went to visit our partner schools – for the St. Michael’s group, it was St. Paul’s School in Torbeck; for the St. Andrew’s group, it was St. Augustin’s in Maniche. Points of interaction included art projects with students at St. Paul’s, taking photos of students and doing brief interviews for the Advent Haiti fundraiser for St. Augustin’s, playing soccer and volleyball, making necklaces and bracelets, and doing home visits with a couple of students. I find the home visits especially moving and informative, as we get to see where students live, hear their parents’ perceptions of the school, and hear their parents’ hopes for their kids later in life.
I’m posting some photos to capture the joy, as well as this collection of thoughts from various group members.
· “The kids were just so welcoming! I felt like I belonged there.”
· “For years, I’ve heard about this school in the prayers at church. It’s just a school – until you go there, and this little girl latches onto your hand.”
· “The people were so hospitable, especially the ones who came out of nowhere to get the van out of the river. One guy even went home to get a rope.”
· “These kids don't have anything, compared with what we have, and I’m sitting there wishing I had Chick-Fil-A for lunch. This trip will definitely change my outlook.”
· “We’ve had the chance to experience what the rest of the world experiences.”
And, of course, we can’t forget our day of fun with the Adventure Bus, as it’s now been christened. First, you have to know that getting to St. Augustin’s requires us to drive literally through a river. The loose-rock riverbed has been called “Haitian ice” on previous trips. Today, it lived into the fullness of its glory. I’ve been to the school several times and never gotten stuck like this. But it was an amazing example of community as villagers came out to push the blans’ van out of the river … twice.