Thursday, March 10, 2016

Haiti 2016: Seeing what is Possible (Fr. Eugene)

As our time to leave Haiti draws near, I have been reflecting on what I will take from this experience and what God is trying to teach me from my time here.  First, no matter what stage in our life we can make a difference.  Gary and Cathy Boice along with Rose, an elderly lady are doing just that.  Gary has put in purified water systems in 7 schools in Haiti and started a technical school, and have brought laptops and iPads to several high schools.  Quality education is a key to changing economic situation in Haiti (By the way, I had said earlier poverty was not as bad as I thought.  Well I found it in the center of Jeremie) .  Rose teaches English at the technical school.  As kids graduate from this technical school, Gary's hope is to find jobs for those who graduate.   Many times when we are too close to a project we don't see the amount of good we do. These three are making a difference.  One misconception I had about Haiti is its beauty.  There is some beautiful places in the country.  We have had many scenic views on mountainsides overlooking the ocean and valleys.  We traveled to a beach front that was quite striking.  Therefore, Haiti could be a tourist site in certain locations if the infrastructure was present.  I never would have dreamed of that possibility.
The environment and people in Haiti has forced our group from our parish to live in the present moment instead of too much in the future and past.  Plus, many times us Americans focus so much on communicating by social media.  In the place we stayed there was no tv nor DVDS.  We had to sit around and talk about our experiences that day.  We also played card games such as Rum and did some real trash talking about our card games.  Kirby Knies was the top trash talker. The time sitting around the dining room really brought us closer together and we bounded much more than we would have in the states.  I really enjoyed getting to know Allison Schroering, Kirby Knies, Deacon Mike, Gary, Kathy, and Michelle Boice, Lisa Mehringer, and Cheryl Seger.  Also the  focus in this Carribean island is so much about surviving today it pulls you back to the needs of the present.  On the other hand are vision and planning for the future helps to remind the people 
of Haiti the importance of having a  vision and setting goals.  Thanks for your prayers.  God bless Fr.  Eugene

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