Declan’s Haven Haiti Diary 2015 -Day 3
The two main recognised religions in Haiti are Catholic and Voodoo. It’s Sunday morning and at 8.30 the water taxi takes us in two groups from the hotel to a place called Madame Bernard’s where we go to Mass.
The nun who runs the orphanage where we will be working has asked that we join her and the community in church.
It takes about 30 mins by boat to get there and it’s only when we are pulling away from the jetty that you get a sense of how beautiful the surroundings are. Turquoise water, white sandy beaches and palm trees lining the shore.
The church is full when we arrive, so all the volunteers stand at the back ‘Irish style’. Even though you know that this is a poor area the locals are really well dressed and kids immaculately turned out. You have to be careful when taking pictures as some people don’t like their photos being taken, you always have to ask permission.
After mass Eilish who works for Soul of Haiti and speaks creole translates part of what the priest says in welcoming the volunteers into the community.
After mass we head up the hill to an orphanage. It is the most underprivileged in society that are cares for here as some have a disability and you wonder how long they can survive. They are cared for really well and have cots and beds to sleep in. They also have wheel chairs and other aids which have obviously been donated over the years.
Our first issue is that because it’s Sunday the nun does not want any work done so its not possible to start anything. This is disappointing as all you want to do is get stuck in and not waste any of the time we have there.
We do however get a briefing from John Moore our leader for the trip. We are told that we will be doing a number of things during the week.
There will be a team planting 3,000 trees across the island in people’s homes, a painting team and a carpentry team doing some repair work in the orphanage and re-configuring some space.
We get a chance to move materials up from the stores and get ready for the various jobs that are set out.
I am asked to repair a ladder that has been nailed together with rusty bent nails, made out of scraps of wood. No health and safety regulations here!
The local women then put on a concert for us which is he first time they have staged a show in public. It actually is very good with a mixture of songs and traditional Haitian dance.
We get the water taxi back to the hotel at 4.30, this gives us a chance to get in a swim before dinner. The water is warm and it feels great just swimming off the jetty as the Caribbean sun sets in the horizon.
Have to stay focused on why we are here though and after dinner it’s time to get an early night for a 5.45 wake up call in the morning.
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