Divers - 25 September 2018

en - Haiti

In 2003, I had the privilege of going on a mission to Haiti with the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. It was a ten day trip to bring supplies to Les Cayes, Haiti, which was a “Twin” Diocese with our Diocese of Worcester. The mission House was called “Key Sin Paul” which means House of St. Paul and was named after the Cathedral in Worcester named St. Paul. We had a very full itinerary, meeting the Minister of Health, the Director of the School of Nursing and the Bishop of Les Cayes.
The trip was strenuous and as well fulfilling. The people of Haiti are a very beautiful and proud, yet struggling society. We met wonderful people who drove us and told us the “ins and outs” of the country. We also had to be very cautious. Most store, banks and gas stations had armed guards with rifles. The mission house was a walled-in manor. Sometimes we heard running, yelling and gunshots at night.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. I remember preparing for my trip by looking for a tour book of Haiti. While this bookstore had a book for every place from A to Z, there was no book for Haiti. That spoke for itself. A colleague of mine from Jamaica tells me that this is because Haiti acquired its freedom from colony rule 100 years too early and they were not prepared for it. There was corruption among the leadership and inexperience in governance.
A few years after returning from Haiti a huge earthquake struck Haiti. I remember thinking, “It was only rubble when I was there. It must be a disaster now.” Every hurricane, earthquake, mudslide sets the country back. The people struggle to survive every day. It is a country that seems to have been left behind. Yet so many missions go to Haiti every year and save lives. A family from my city lost their daughter while she was on a mission to Haiti. She was killed during that same earthquake. To carry on her memory, they built an orphanage that brings up many children. “Be Like Brit” is the name and it is an example of the courageous work that so many carry on year after year.
A country like Haiti, experiencing so much poverty, deserves a higher place in our prayers and international attention.