By: Emilio Pilapil
|Father Walin and his family|
Today was our last full day in Haiti before we head back to the United States, and after going to church and meeting Father Walin's family, we went back to the resort. On the car ride home I observed my surroundings and reflected on how this trip was my first time leaving the country. I thought to myself that, out of all the countries in the world, I would still choose to make Haiti the first country I visit. Even though there are places that are not in the same hard situations that the people of Haiti are in, I would still chose to go to Haiti anyway.
|St. Paul's School|
|A lunch with the Dynamic Ladies, a women's group that started providing microloans to the community 9 years ago|
Day 7 - Church Thoughts
By: David Yee
Every year that I come to Montrouis, the event I look forward to most is an event most people do not see as a highlight-reel event: church service. In fact, it's an event that I myself don't see the same way when I am at home. Perhaps it's because the church services I see at home don't hold dance parties mid-service.
Today's mass started out slowly, and compared to past years, I was concerned to see a room so sparsely filled. In time, though, as the service progressed, people found their way into the pews. By the middle of the service, when the singing really began, the volume of the voices within the room, around one hundred strong, would drown the voices during our 450 person chapel services. I was nervous that people wouldn't come, but as I learn every time I come to Haiti, things that are meant to happen will happen when they're meant to.
And happen they did. By the middle of the service, when we were asked to provide a sign of peace to each other, people broke their way out of the pews and greeted each other all over the church. The musicians, using nothing but a keyboard, half a drum set, and their own voices, infused energy into the room as the children broke free of their parents and leapt into the arms of our students, students they knew they would only see for a little while longer. Those students of St. Paul's waited in line, making sure that we left one last spot on our dance cards before taking a seat once more. Tears marked the end of the song.
Perhaps the most touching thing I remember every year is that the members of the St. Paul's community pray for us at St. Stephen's and St. Agnes every day. They see us in their prayers, and I know because every year, the students and community members ask how past travelers are doing. As Father Walin said to the students, he sees a change in the school every time we come and go, and we can see and feel that change. Though we don't know the same language and we cannot express to each other our feelings, Father Walin reminded us: "Love has no language."
He also told us that, when we leave on our plane, we will leave an empty spot that they will all feel at St. Paul's until we come again. Because we are one in community, though, I know they will not be the only ones feeling that emptiness. For me, that emptiness will serve as a reminder of all that I have learned, but more importantly, all that I still must strive to learn.