Sister in Haiti 2011
Returning to Haiti
Photo's of the trip to Haiti 2011 CLICK HERE
Update from Haiti
Tuesday Feb. 22, 2011
By Mike Gilhooly
We arrived safely in Haiti on Saturday. Unfortunately the Internet and electricity have been out until today (Tuesday.) We attended Mass Sunday morning at Sacred Heart under the tent as the church was ruined by the earthquake last year. That hasn’t stopped hundreds of people from attending Mass. The site has been for the most part cleared and being made ready for re-building. I was amazed by the devotion and faith shown by the Haitian Catholics. Posters showing the devastation alongside posters showing the proposed new building are hung for all to see.
Sunday afternoon we took a ride about an hour out of Port au Prince up a mountain to a mass burial grave called Saint Christophe that is the resting place of more than 100,000 of the people that were killed in the earthquake , what a solemn and sad experience.
On Monday we went to the deaf camp, Sister Judi from Rio Rancho NM was greeted by the moms with smiles as she shared her home-made clothing for their children. The joyful shouts from the children as we arrived in the deaf camp – “Johnice – Johnice” and the children singing the songs taught from the visit in July, “Oui Jezi – Oui Jezi" echoed throughout the camp.
Sneakers, granola bars, toothbrushes and fruit snacks were distributed in a very special and heart-felt reunion with both the children and their parents. Many hugs, smiles, tears of joy and hope were seen. We were so moved to see the children and the parents remember the Sisters and have such affection for them.
Today we re-visited the deaf camp and had a meeting with Aaron Anderson from the International Red Cross; they are constructing small cottages and setting up a permanent community for both deaf and handicapped people that are still shunned and outcast by the general population in Haiti. We then had a meeting with the people from Catholic Relief and are looking to get a grant to start a school for the children of the deaf camp, (run by "For a Rising Sun") allowing them the same opportunity as other children in Haiti.
I took many photos and shot video that I hope captured the spirit of the reunion and our trip to Haiti. I will be sharing them upon our return as the Internet is still very slow here now.
Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes we will be home on Friday.
Sr. Judith Pike (Rio Rancho), Sr. Johnice Rzadkiewicz (Buffalo) and Mike Gilhooly (Response to Love Center Volunteer) are bearing gifts in their return to Haiti.
Snacks from youth groups, sneakers from Sr. Francianne and students from St. John Vianney School will be shared with the deaf camp and orphan children in Haiti. In addition, $10,000 was raised by Sr. Johnice from speaking engagements and generous donors for Dr. Jean Paul Bonnet’s, Santé Bus project. The van will provide transportation to and from medical visits and appointments.
Following in the footprints of Jesus and Blessed Angela, the “compassionate presence” of our Felician Franciscan Community shall touch the lives of the “poorest of the poor” in Haiti. Let us remember with prayer our mission to Haiti.