Haiti Mission Update Day Two

kidsAnd that’s a wrap on day two! Sundays are very special days in Haiti. All across the country Haitians take off work and dedicate the entire day to celebrating Jesus Christ. Therefore, there was no doubt that we started out our day with a Mass service with the children at the Children’s Home that we worked at yesterday, as well as students K-4 from the school owned by the home.

Arriving around 8:15 a.m. for nine o’clock mass, all of the children were beaming with excitement when they saw we were joining them for Mass. We sat in the rows with them and tried to make conversation with them before what most of us would say was one of the best services of our lives. The service started out with all of the children singing as loud as possible. Imagine the loudest Mass you’ve ever heard and multiply that by ten. The kids truly wanted to be there and weren’t just going through the motions. They were having fun, and even though we didn’t understand the language, it was so beautiful to feel God through all of these children and people. 

After Mass was over, we spent about an hour and a half doing the same tasks as the day prior. We went into the Children’s Home and just spent time with the babies and toddlers. Loving them was all they wanted, and we provided them with all the hugs we had. The tasks were so simple — just holding or even standing by these babies gave us the most special moments.

Around noon, we took our daily break for lunch. Since it was Sunday, this break was especially long, leaving us three hours to rehydrate, nap, and play games. The game “Resistance” was fairly popular today, as well as “Coup” and “Squares/Kemps”. I think it was easy to say that Father Jeff turned the whole group against Keenan in our games (cause he was ridiculously good at them, he might still be a little bitter). Nonetheless, we enjoyed our competitive games in good nature (for the most part).

After our break, we got back to work. Being the second day, there were many students who were eager to return back to the babies they had really connected with the past two days. For others, today was about reaching out to as many children as possible and helping every crying kid in sight. It didn’t really matter which path people chose, it was meaningful either way. We have to realize that as a group of 18, there is physically no way that we can help every child, and a lot of us have struggled with this concept. This week isn’t about changing everything and everyone’s life for the better — it’s not a task that can be “checked off a list”. The progress this week cannot be measured. It’s a very little step that will make a difference in the lives of these children, whether we see it this week or not.

As overwhelming and out of our comfort zone yesterday was, today was a clean slate and things are beginning to “click” for people. Today wasn’t full of all the culture shock and distractions that are normal from going into extreme poverty. Today we were able to be more present and could find joy in the simple things. It’s been two days, but the transformations are noticeable in everyone and we can’t wait to see what the week brings.

After our day at the Children’s Home, we had dinner and reflected on today’s experiences. Below are some highs (best parts of the day), lows (worst parts of the day), and words that summarize the day from several people throughout the group.

High was Mass this morning with all the children.

The best part was some of the children borrowed our Mission Guide Books to copy all the English to Creole phrases.

One word to describe the day, “simplicity.”

The best part of the day was playing hide and seek with one of the toddlers.

The best part was definitely the Mass and seeing how involved everyone is here.

The best was the trust that built today with these children. I feel like we are really getting to know people here now.

The best part was passing out candy to all the kids. They were so excited. We gave candy to everyone!

It was so beautiful to see the way they lived Mass, how much they wanted to be there and how much it meant to them to be there

The word that sums up my day is frustration because i was trying to feed a baby on an IV who would not eat and it was so hard not to be able to do anything about it.

Understanding — I spent the whole day trying to understand, the whole day was just a constant effort to understand.

The best part was giving out candy!

The Mass was the best. The kids loved our prayer book and that we could pray with them the Creole Mass. I see God so much in these kids.

We all loved the Mass. They poured their heart and soul in to praying.

My little baby laughed all day. It hit me so much how much they wanted and needed water.

All around the world there are people praying and believing and living the same Mass.

My favorite moment was playing soccer upstairs with the kids.

I realized that the baby I have been taking care of was found after his mother died and was brought here as a last effort.

I spent some time just looking at the beauty of the country, and looking back on where our minds and hearts are now compared to where they were last year on the trip. Just to accept the simplicity of what we are doing compared with the problems and poverty we are facing.

The language barrier really brings a deeply human element of connection beyond words.

One of the little girls, her mom was there and she was completely unconsoled until she was with her mom. The mom came and thanked us for caring for her baby.

About Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a writer and consultant. He lives in the Chicago area and has a wonderful wife, son and daughter. He enjoys fishing and occasionally catches something. He tries to play the piano and sings a little. In addition to writing for Regnum Christi Live, he blogs at Laughing Catholic. And you can follow him on Twitter: Jim Fair (@fishfair).
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