Saturday, February 21, 2015

Last day in Gros-Morne

Early this morning, we all left at 8:30 to go to the market in search for Toms. Toms are donated to the people of Haiti who need them and some of the people who receive Toms decide to sell them instead of wearing them in order to make money to buy food for their families. We walked around the market a little bit but realized that the woman who sells the Toms was not there so we went back to the Guest House for Sister Pat to talk to us about deforestation. After the slideshow, we went to hike up yet another mountain. It was longer than the first hike but it was so beautiful from the top. We took a small break before getting to the top and we all took pictures and the juniors took a group photo. After our break, we continued up the mountain and from there, we could see all of Gros-Morne. The town was beautiful and we could also see the mountain we climbed up on Thursday.  
At the second peak, we all took a group photo with the city of Gros-Morne in the background

When we got down from the mountain, we headed to a tree nursery that consisted of many trees that the Sisters and other Haitian people were using to reforest the mountains of Haiti.Sister Pat explained that after the Haitians gained their independence, they had to pay reparations to France. In order to afford the payments, they had to cut down the trees to allow sunlight for banana trees to come through so the bananas could be sold to the French. Another way the Haitians paid the French was by selling them mahogany, which was a large part of the tree population. After all of the trees were cut down, no one really worked to plant more trees, which caused erosion on the mountains and flooding to occur. The tree nursery we went to had banana trees, hibiscus plants, mango trees, and papaya trees. 
Banana tree at the tree nursery
After the tree nursery, we had lunch and then headed back to Maison Bon Samaritan. Yesterday, we painted the exterior of the homeless shelter green but today, we just touched up the green paint and repainted some of the exterior white. There were some children playing in the homeless shelter as well as elderly people sitting outside watching us. It felt wonderful knowing that we were helping people who don't have homes to fix the only home they have. The worst part about the paint was cleaning it off. We had to use Turpentine to rub it off our bodies. To get the gas off, we had to use detergent that the residents of Maison Bon Samaritan use to wash their clothes. The turpentine smelled terrible and is also illegal in America. Some of us used baby wipes instead of the gas because it was cleaner. 
Mrs. Broderick cleans up spilled paint from the floor with turpentine at Maison Bon Samaritan
After Maison Bon Samaritan, we went back to the Guest House to change into our dress clothes and go to church. We can't go to church tomorrow because we are leaving early for Port Au Prince. The mass was a little longer than usual because there was extra singing and another sermon type of speech. The priest talked about money with the church and how there is a lottery between the parishioners and the church. According to our friend T, the people were getting angry when they weren't winning the lottery. After church, we came back to the house for spaghetti and sausage. Elisa, the directer of Mercy Beyond Borders, came to our house to eat dinner and talk to us about her work with girls in Haiti regarding MBB. She talked about how she takes in girls who have high grades and she teaches them about academic excellence, personal integrity, compassionate action. She mentioned the fact that if the girls do not perform well in school they need to leave MBB and go back to their families. The talk with Elisa was very enlightening and it was so interesting to hear about the everyday life of Haitian girls that are our age. Last night, we told Elisa about our junior ring ceremony which inspired her to strive for getting rings for her girls when they become juniors. After all the days we were here, in Fon Ibo, Maison Bon Samaritan, Irish Villiage, MBB, we found how much we appreciated all that we have and that we often take many things in our lives for granted. We see the poverty the people in Haiti live in and we see that the people still try to be happy and make the best of every situation. This realization is a huge eye opener for us and shows us that it is not enough for us just to try and help but we need to recruit others to help too. It is a big project that requires many people in order for it to advance. 

-Cecilia, Sophie, and Molly
We took a group photo in front of Papa's bus.
From back (left to right): Emma Broderick, Eileen Broderick, T,Cecilia Hoskins, Emily Hall, Gabi LoVerde, Haley Dennis, Molly Blinn, Sister Mary Sullivan, Hannah LaDuca, Violet Dong, Sophie Lu, Aimee Clayton, Papa, Andi Healy, Mrs,

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Day 3: Splendid

Started the morning off bright and early taking a hike to the top of a mountain to view the sunrise over Gros-Morne. Once we reached the top of the mountain, we witnessed many Haitians sitting peacefully, singing and praying as others joined in song and danced along. Going down the hill was a struggle for some of us, but luckily some of the Haitian children were kind enough to take our hands and lead us down the mountain so we didn't fall.

View from the mountain

Group picture on top of the mountain (missing Emma)

After the hike, we went and visited a local hospital which is in the process of being expanded. They are currently planning on adding around 120 beds. It costs about 25 cents for a surgery, but they didn't really have to pay, it was more of a symbolic gesture. There are currently no surgeons, but American doctors and surgeons visit and volunteer their time at the hospital. They are hoping to get a regular staff to work at the hospital soon.
Plans for the hospital's renovation

Next, we found ourselves back at the elementary school, FonIbo, where we played with the children there, even though they didn't have school since they were in mourning from Carnival. The Carnival was shut down due to an electric wire came down and many were injured and some died. The children were very happy and energetic to have us there to play computer games in their new computer lab and outdoor activities with them. Many of us had very special experiences with the children and didn't want to leave. After a while of running around having fun, we all took a break and had a snack which consisted of Haitian peanut butter and ginger bread. 

While we were playing with the children, we noticed that many of the children were wearing TOM’S shoes. We were told that the previous week about 15,000 pairs were delivered to Gros-Morne and donated to the children.

First thing in the afternoon we attended a Creole/English Mass at Maison de Bon Samaritan which was a home for older people. Emily Hall did a beautiful reading from Deuteronomy for us all. It was a very simple, yet peaceful celebration. 
Our final activity of the day was visiting the girls from the Mercy Beyond Boarders house. They must have been the most energetic group. They were beyond excited to sing for us and incorporate us into their creole songs.  It was a great way to end the day, and we're all very excited to see the children and girls again.

-Aimee Clayton and Violet Dong

Anpil Foto (a lot of photos)

Aimee Clayton and her new friend smiling away!