Day 8 – Sunday May 19, 2013

I woke up at 5:30 am because mass was scheduled for 7 am.  I tried to fix my suitcases to accommodate some of the liqueurs, wine and ‘confiture’ produced by the PFST.
At home in NY, every morning I have the same ritual. I have coffee with Jesus. (Meaning, while having coffee I pray).  Since I was awake so early, I got the chance to do that before mass.
We were served soup for breakfast as the mass would start an hour later as it is the choir’s 25th anniversary.   It was impossible to charge the iPad in my room.  I had to go to the main office.

As I usually do when I enter a church for the first time, I make three petitions.  I thought of Maddie’s grandson and Lucette’s health besides my own family members’ intentions.
Mass was about three hours.  There were a lot of singing and speeches to celebrate the choir’s anniversary.
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At lunch time, I met the new ‘cure’ assigned to this region: Rev. Luc Philogne for Notre Dame of Altagrace located in Source Corossol.  He came with Dabady and Arnauld, both involved in the charismatic movement.
I wasn’t able to access the internet today.  Br. Wilfrid showed me his fields and had me meet two families he supports.

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One is a handicapped woman (who walks on cushioned stumps) with 5 children. She has a husband who does not provide for the children as he has another family elsewhere.  We talked with another man with 6 children.  The father was complaining he could not provide for all of them.  I asked him why he has so many children if you can’t provide for them?  He answered he had to find the girl to keep his clothes clean.  The expectancy to have someone helping them is incredible.  I did not dare ask: what are you doing to help yourself?   What do they hope or can accomplish for these children?  It is saddening to see so many children without opportunities to be raised with human dignity. Is it the reason I hear of the word ‘orphanage’ so much in Haiti? Has the ‘restavek’ problem translated into making Haiti an orphanage hub?

Besides the two families, Brother Wilfried is also responsible of a youth group.  These children used to be roaming the area and getting into trouble.  He meets with them on Sundays.
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Br. Frangue insisted that I visit the groups he sponsors. He had two youngsters locate me while I was visiting the families.  The first group of 150 children from kindergarten to upper elementary called ‘Rosignol de St. Therese’ sings at mass.  He would like to teach them floral art (paper flowers). They come on Sundays for two-three hours of activities.  They receive catechism before playing a sport or another team activity.  The vocational school has two components: sewing and cooking.  The participants attend for two years.  There are 3 instructors (2 for the sewing – one male, one female) and one for the kitchen.  The ‘Centre d’Education rentable de Fatima’ already has 20 sewing machines.  They don’t have enough materials and threads.  The kitchen still needs equipment.
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I spent some time with the kids.   They sang a welcome song for me then I taught them a Patriotic poem and read two of my books with them: Kabrit Mawon, and Kabrit Nwa.
They sang a thank you song, I concluded with a prayer.

Br. Frangue also invited me to talk to the group considering joining the vocational school.  Both parents and students were present.  I told them about my mother’s insistence for her children to learn something practical while we were in school and to do our utmost to become professionals to help ourselves as worthy citizens.  I had taken typing and secretarial classes while in High School.  Those skills allowed me to find a job when I came to the US.  After twenty years working in administration in a Bank I was able to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher. I also mentioned that whatever we do, we need to do it to the best of our ability.  Whatever the task we are handling God is present with us. We must be punctual, disciplined, and competent in the job we are hired for or agree to do.

Before supper, Br. Wilfrid drove me to the other side of the mountain to meet the Sisters of St. Therese.  Sr. Marie Alcin showed me the ‘dispensaires’ which provides services: Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  They consult about 30 individuals each day.  The handicap center tales care of 40 individuals.  There are 48 active nuns in this area in additions to 7 invalid ones in the infirmary.  The nuns were happy for the visit.
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In the evening I had a meeting with the brothers: Frangue, Wilfrid, Denis, and Lozama to discuss how to get funding for the youth projects.  They need start up money for their youth projects.

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