Sister Jacinta's Reflection on Haiti Mission Trip
Updated: Nov 18, 2021
“We loved everything!”
This was the unanimous response of the 120 8-17 year-olds that we had the privilege of working with for the first 4 days of our Haiti trip this year. This program was a new idea for 2019 and truly was so blessed. Many of the Sisters and Friars are familiar with running Summer Life days with inner-city children and it seemed possible to do the same for the needy children we constantly encounter there in Carrefour. So during the Christmas school break, we happily took over the Little Brothers of St. Therese’s school for our first Haiti Summer Life!
It was a simple program. The day started with breakfast courtesy of Friar Suppliers. Then we all gathered under the shade of the one tree in the schoolyard where Br. Matthew taught the songs “God is a good God” and “Mercy is Falling” in Creole. We learned quickly that they love to sing and it was so wonderful to hear their laughter as they felt the joy the Lord gives when we praise Him.
Next, we had a rotation of different activities: games in the yard; drama to prepare for performing a Nativity pageant in the Church on Sunday; art with supplies we brought with us and religion class with the Friars teaching the Rosary and the gift of Mary, our Mother -- plus answering their many questions!
Thankfully it was possible to divide the group into 4 smaller groups; boys and girls, older and younger with each one identified by a different colored wrist band. In between the set activities, there was time for recess. This was a wonderful time of experiencing the children’s desire to play with us despite our language barrier, plus their huge appreciation for such simple things as a Frisbee, a skipping rope, and a soccer ball. It actually caused an uproar when they realized we had a real soccer ball; something they never get to play with!
What struck me was how attentive and well-behaved the children were. I was aware that most of them had never had any formal schooling and so I was anticipating short attention spans and a lack of understanding of classroom discipline. This was certainly not the case. These children wanted to learn and most of all to be able to go to school and were so appreciative of whatever we wanted to do with them. We could easily have incorporated more teaching and they would have soaked it up.
My absolute highlight though was to be able to bring them to the Church and before Our Eucharistic Lord. Even though we personally didn’t know their family situation or the struggles they lived through each day there was One Person that knew them better than anyone else – Jesus. They needed Him more than they needed anything else. We spent some time explaining, through the translators, about the Real Presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and then Fr. John Paul brought the Lord in the Monstrance to each child. Yes, how He desires the children to come to Him! Thank you for making this most special gift possible in the lives of these little ones.
Sr. Jacinta Pollard, CFR