On All Souls’ Day, Sr. Jo and I drove our little jeep to the chapel at 9:30 A.M. It’s been very rainy this week which means that services started even later than usual. By the time we left it was 12:30 P.M. and we both felt dead as doornails. All I wanted to do was go home, eat something, and rest a little. However, God had other plans. On the way down the path to our house, we were stopped by a young man who asked us to drive him and his pregnant wife to the hospital. It was an emergency! I dropped off Sr. Jo and away we went with the young parents, the girl’s mother, and Jilmak, the young Haitian man who works for us. As usual we were surrounded by a whole group of villagers who came to see us off. It was very muddy from all the rain, so we got caught in the mud a couple times. I prayed all the way there that we’d arrive safely, especially since we were carrying “extra-special cargo.” On the way we passed one of our young students from St. Rose de Lima School. He was walking his pig on a leash. Then we passed a man with two donkeys, one of which started heading in our direction. The men ran up and caught him and got him out of the way. Finally we arrived at the hospital in Pestel in one piece and with two very relieved young parents-to-be. It wasn’t a restful Sunday but it was certainly a blest one!
Last week our rainy season came into full bloom. Unlike last year, which was my first time here during the fall months, the rain brought with it strong winds and cool air. It really had the feeling of autumn which I loved because I was missing the fall season. Last year we had a terrible drought. The Haitians and Sr. Jo told me that this is the way the weather usually is this time of year. In fact, we had so much rain that the schools were closed for several days. The children can’t go to school because it is very muddy, making it very dangerous for traveling. I’m told that there are two rainy seasons like this which correspond with our seasons of fall and spring.
The other day we received some wonderful news. You may remember the sad story I shared last year about a young couple who lost their newborn baby boy, and how heartbreaking it was to visit that tiny grave. Yesterday we learned that they had another baby—a little girl named Esther.
When Sr. Jo celebrated her birthday, we had a nice party at lunchtime. Wilgens cooked a delicious concoction following Sr. Jo’s directions. Banave and Jilmak were with us along with Fitho, a young Haitian who looks to Sr. Jo as a kind of second mother because she took care of him in the states when he went there for heart surgery. I baked a strawberry cake with strawberry icing. Sr. Jo said that she couldn’t have done better herself which was a great compliment, since she’s a terrific cook and baker. We had a few simple gifts for the birthday girl. In the evening we had a special time of prayer, followed by a DVD. It was a very nice day for Sr. Jo and for all of us here who love her.
This morning Sr. Jo and Banave went into the little generator house on our property to put gas in the generator. When they got there, they found a little surprise on the floor— three newly laid eggs!December 2014
We had a very unique experience with our last group of visitors. They had with them a film-maker and his crew. They are making a documentary about their visit here. In addition to visiting the various villages and helping the people, they also visited St. Rose de Lima School. They filmed the children praying and singing their Pledge of Allegiance, as well as working with their teachers, and playing outside during “repo” (break). Needless to say, it was really exciting! It was like being on the set of a TV production. I took pictures of them taking pictures of the teachers and children. That evening they interviewed Sr. Jo and me in our yard. They had a microphone in front of us that extended from a long pole, just like in the movies. They also had huge, blinding lights on us so that we really couldn’t see the person who was asking us the questions. We were both nervous but it seemed to go really well. If the documentary happens and gets some more help for our people, it will be well worth the anxiety. One of the visitors, was so touched by his visit here, that he made a very large donation to our little school. We are going to use the money to raise the roof on the chapel (which is our school during the weekdays) in order to get more ventilation and light into the building. With no electricity, it gets extremely hot in there and when it rains, it’s very dark. The people in our parish of St. Rose have been wanting to do this for a long time but it would have taken eternity for them to raise the money. What a wonderful gift!
This month our children in St. Rose de Lima School also received another wonderful gift through their benefactors, St. Rose de Lima School in the U.S. They will be wearing uniforms for the first time when they return to school after the Christmas vacation. Madame Wisney, the director of our chapel, and a seamstress who has her own shop, sewed them for us. They are just lovely. She followed the sample which one of our own dear sisters, Sr. Maria de Guadalupe Diaz, prepared before I came back in September. The children, teachers, and director assistant are so happy! Often in the states, children don’t want to wear uniforms but here it is considered an honor. The teachers and Mali, our director assistant, also asked to have a uniform. I can’t wait to see them all dressed up!Well, our mother hen who laid her eggs in our generator house was prancing around our yard, followed by five precious little chicks. However, as is often the case here, our joy was short-lived when someone killed the mother hen. The talk is that one of the farmers gave her poison because she was eating in his garden. I don’t know if it’s true, but that seems to be a common occurrence here. The five babies were wandering all around looking for their mom. The men here told us they would die because it is too cold for them right now. However, we weren’t going to give up without a fight. We asked the men to gather up the babies and we put them in a box in our chapel with a little solar light. One baby did die but the others seem to be growing stronger and a little bigger every day. They must think the light is their mom. They huddle around it to get warm. One of them already tried to fly out and actually popped his head out of the box. Another one keeps trying to peck his way out. They are just darling although it seems this should be Easter Season rather than Christmas Season!