We are settled in with our Haitian hosts after a whirlwind day and a half.
The 13 members of the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice service learning trip to Haiti arrived in Port-au-Prince Friday and Saturday. Most of us are from the Main Line and Wellsprings congregations in suburban Philadelphia.
This is the first of three posts about a service trip to Haiti Jan. 9-16, 2016.
On Sunday after attending an evangelical Christian service, with more than 2,000 Haitians in the morning, we took a brief tour of the country’s national history museum. Then we climbed into three vehicles for the three-hour trip to the headquarters compound of the Papaye Peasant Mouvement (MPP), our hosts for the week.
The trip took us past a vast ghetto of makeshift housing near Port-au-Prince, through the mountains and into Haiti’s Central Plateau. To see the depth of poverty here, to be so close to the people who live their lives here, is a world-rocker.
We shared our feeling of heart-opening and -breaking at the night’s reflection. A house away, we could hear a family going through its paces—talking, laughing, a child calling out. For me, it was a reminder that our circumstances may be so different, but our humanity is identical. We live, we dream, we fear, we grow angry and despair. We persevere.
After the reflection, we star-gazed. The sky is both darker and brighter here, and bursting with light. May that be a good omen for seeing what is ordinarily hidden from us.
Monday we will hear more from our hosts, hopefully including MPP’s founder, Jean-Baptiste Chabonnes, who recently abandoned a presidential campaign. And we move one day closer to understanding and being in relationship with the people who live in this complicated, difficult, wondrous place.
Please keep us, and our hosts, in your thoughts.