The Good News in Haiti

By Clare Jenkins, Haiti Immersion Trip Participant

Photo: G. Romeri/Haiti
I was blessed to be born in a time when children could wake up on a Saturday morning, pack a sack lunch, and go explore in the woods until dinner time.  We were free to discover the wonders of the natural world.  Because of this, I developed a life-long interest in the environment.  I have also had a life-long desire to do mission work.  When I saw that the Maryknoll Missionaries were hosting an immersion trip to Haiti, I knew I had to go.  Haiti has suffered terrible deforestation and a subsequent fresh water crisis.  This has been exacerbated by the devastating earthquake in 2010.  I don’t want to focus on the problems in Haiti.  I will leave that to the journalists and newscasters.  I want to share the good things I witnessed.

While in Haiti, I was completely “unplugged”, so I was free to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the communities I visited without the distractions of phones and computers.  The highlights of my visit included seeing children who treasure the chance to sit at a desk and listen to a teacher sharing a lesson; meeting two gentlemen from Sakala, a Pax Christi organization in Cite Soleil that offers after school programs in civic responsibility, sportsmanship, and gardening; listening to Dr. Brutus of HELP, Inc, who has built a school in La Tremblay and hopes to establish a technical program in aquaponics; and attending Mass at 6:30 in the morning in a packed church where everyone sang and prayed and Mass was the focus of the day, not another thing on a to-do list.

Everywhere there are signs of hope.  Everywhere there are Haitians trying to improve the living conditions of their fellow citizens.  Their faith in God is stronger than anything I have witnessed.  Who will heal Haiti?   The Haitian people will if they can just get back on their feet.  We need to reach out and lend them that hand that will help them up.

I went to Haiti without any preconceived views.  I left with a great sense of peace.  I have always treasured the prayer “may people come to know Jesus because you are in their lives”.  I came to know Jesus because the Haitian people I met came into my life.