Saturday, June 13, 2015

Haiti - 2015 - Day 6

(Editor's Note: Today's post is brought to you by Sean Dowling '16 with varying input levels from the rest of the group.)

The children look on as we tour their church, St. Mark's
Hey Guys, it's Sean. Today, we were blessed to be able to sleep in for the first time all trip. Well rested, we moseyed from our rooms to the breakfast buffet line. After enjoying our breakfast and applying buckets of DEET, we piled into our van and began our trek from our hotel to Saint Mark’s School. To our dismay, we were stuck in what seemed like endless traffic on the main road, causing us to turn onto a much smaller, much bumpier side road. The unforgiving gravel road reduced our van to a snail’s pace. This, coupled with the heat of and being packed into the van like sardines, made the ride less than enjoyable. Our moods, however, were lightened when I pulled out my speaker and played music ranging from Drake to Kenny Loggins. Perhaps the most interesting part of the drive was being able to see the uncountable amount of street vendors selling their goods to the people of Montrouis. We even saw a few of the kids from our camp running around outside!
A view of the river that streams down from the same mountain that provides water to Montrouis 
The bumpy ride 
Fr. Walin introducing us to Saint Mark's School, a K-6 school he has expanded
We tend to create a scene wherever we travel
When we arrived at Saint Marc’s, which is situated a bit inland and a little bit up a mountain, we were greeted by the school’s principal, who, along with Father Walin, gave us a tour of the school grounds and its hand-built church. We were then treated to something totally foreign to us back in the States: sugar cane. A farmer brought a few stalks for us to munch on, and munched on them we did. We were particularly intrigued by the sweetness of juice that emerged from the fibrous plant. After finishing our sugarcane, we piled back into the van and returned to the hotel.
St. Mark's Church, newly built as of April
out of recovered materials from the Seminary
The inside of St. Mark's Church
Enjoying some sugar cane
Enjoying some sugar cane II
Everyone got in on the sugar cane action

Mr. Yee gave us the afternoon off, leading many of us to go to the beautiful beaches. While some tanned or swam, Mary Grace and I attempted to knock coconuts out of trees with rocks, and after many throws, we succeeded! Only to find our coconut to be rotten.

After a peaceful afternoon, we gathered for our last supper, which we shared with Father Walin. Dinner is always a fun time – a place for us to unwind and talk about the day, eat good food (unless you’re Palmer, who only eats rice), listen to live music, and for Josiah, to get in his feels.

A view of our favorite deck at Moulin-Sur-Mer 
A view back towards the main area of Moulin-Sur-Mer
As I sit by the ocean in my rugby shorts, a t-shirt, SAINTS headband, and worn-out, painted-blue Sanuks, I can say that I am genuinely sad to have to leave tomorrow. Running the summer camp, while challenging, brought me joy to know that I was making the days of so many of these kids. The Haitian kids were some of the most polite, kind, and fun-loving kids I’ve ever met (even though they had a tendency to kick in sensitive areas while roughhousing). And even more than the kids, I have grown so much closer to the other members of the group than I ever expected. I came in not really knowing more than one or two people well, and am leaving with some friendships so close that words can’t adequately describe them, so I won’t.

This has truly been one of the best experiences of my life, and I am sad to see it come to a close.


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