Br. Moses Pio’s Haiti Reflection Letter 2021
I want to thank you, Charlie, for all the hard work you put into planning and facilitating the mission trip to Haiti. I felt that the mission trip was a complete success and it was such a joy to be a part of.
When we landed in Haiti I was immediately struck by the physical beauty of the country: the mountains, the trees, and (as I would learn very soon) above all the inner beauty of the people! It was interesting to see all of the little street markets with raw meat displayed, veggies, beans, or with things made out of wood, little clothing market, and other things that people were trying to sell. It was also interesting to see how close (literally inches!) cars would get to each other as we were driving, the dirt streets, the happy children who would often run behind our vehicle as we slowly drove through the streets, etc.
It was challenging to see many people trying to fill up containers of gasoline from a single gas pump, a man washing his piece of fruit in a puddle of dirty garbage water, the piles of trash, the poor living conditions of the people, children who don’t have the clothes or the shoes that they need, and seeing the concrete reality of poverty and hunger. One of the hardest things that I saw was that a little girl had scabies. I still hope that we can send aid to people who have this. In spite of all of those things, one of the things that struck me the most during the trip was this: the people’s joy. It was relieving to go to a place that didn’t have big smiles covered by a mask and to encounter many friendly personalities (which is sometimes harder to find in NY). They know that they suffer much and I think this gives them a unique perspective on life, which might be captured by: their need for God, their need for each other, a knowledge of what’s really important in life, a desire for things that are beautiful (singing, dancing, etc), working together, and supporting each other.
The 36 of us were all assigned to various assignments throughout the mission trip, and among all of the jobs, I was grateful to be a part of the evangelization group who worked at the school and to be a part of the transportation crew. I really liked the transportation crew because we worked in solidarity with all the men who were working with us and not for us, allowed me to be immersed in the neighborhoods surrounding the compound, to do something concrete for the people there and to see the living conditions of the people. This was also hard work because all of the building materials might have to be carried into and through little alley ways, down crumbling paths of sand and rock, and all the way to the little building site, but this is precisely what I was looking for because this is the same paths that many of the Haitian people have to use so I was glad to use it as well.
I was also a part of the evangelization crew. We played games with them like soccer (which was a blast and a big highlight for me), brought them to the church and gave them various talks about Jesus, a time of prayer, small groups, arts and crafts, and other things. I enjoyed this time with them and especially when I affirmed one young man in the small group that the Lord made him because the thought of him made God happy. The boy smiled and something changed inside of him. The burning bush prayer time and the talks that the brothers gave were big highlights for me too.
The last day was one of the most challenging and rewarding days. This was the day that I was running up and down the long hill that led up to the compound with 2 big buckets of water. The water was not used to cool me off on this hot day, but some of the 2,400 people who came to get food!. And you know how people can even get during black Friday shopping in the United States! Outside of the lower gate, the people waited for most of the day to get their turn to come up the long hill to get their food. My heart ached for them when I saw what it was like in the “waiting line.” The joy in their heart was evidently seen and felt as they walked up the hill to get their food.
The mission trip was a complete success and a joy to be a part of. The trip literally changed my life and I pray that the Lord allows me to go next year. I thought that I was going there to evangelize and help them but they evangelized and helped me in so many different ways. I’m grateful to have been part of this mission. Thank you for listening to the Lord’s call to help his children in Haiti, Charlie.
St. Joseph, pray for us!