Saturday, February 11, 2012
My wake up call this morning was the chorus of the dogs barking, the birds chirping, the rooster crowing... followed by the fresh, crisp sound of the church bells. It was around 6:00 a.m., not so early but so different from waking up in Carroll. There was a sense of peace and tranquility as I welcomed the dawning of a new day in Haiti. The silence was broken only by the soulful and harmonious songs in church by the priest and people attending mass. Their voices sounds celestial and very soothing. The early morning spiritual songs reminded me so much of my experiences in the past when I have visited convents and monasteries; what a refreshing, peaceful and joyful way of starting out a new day.
After breakfast of typical Haitian food, our morning was spent at our sister parish's Catholic school. We met with the teachers and saw the conditions of the classrooms and the needs of the students, but most of all, we watched the joyful and enthusiastic faces of the children as they sang songs for us after we gave them candies and chocolates. Though the buildings in the school grounds are viable places to teach and learn, they do not offer much space and comfort to the students. The classrooms are well ventilated and not air-conditioned, because there were open-air doors and windows. There was only basic furniture to be seen, like a small teachers desk, an old fashion chalkboard and rugged student desks. There are usually two to three students to each desk. Seeing this situation first hand makes me feel so blessed and grateful to have so many gifts and amenities and life from God, but it also humbles me to think that these poor people are much more deserving to have all the extras to enjoy, but do not really need.
Right away, electricity was turned off right after the bells rang this morning. So the cold shower was a welcome relief from the heat. This afternoon was spent driving through Les Cayes (a nearby town), where we visited the infirmary and orphanage ran by the Sisters of Charity (founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta). Again, in spite of the clean and poor condition of the facility, the orphans, the handicapped and the sick people (mostly with AIDS) seemed joyful with their big smiles and friendly "hellos".
Our evening was concluded with a dinner at the beach under the canopy of stars and bright golden moon. This day was a day of discovery and of strengthening our ties and friendship with our sister parish. Tomorrow, we will bring more revelation and I just can't wait!