We have recently returned from our yearly mission to Haiti and it was very successful. We distributed over 420 backpacks and went to five schools while on our journey. As always, it was exciting to see all the children and how they have grown and changed, and experience the knowledge they have gained from being able to attend school as a result of their sponsors.
There have been many changes at St. Marie, as reconstruction continues after the 2010 earthquake. The new church is completed and is utterly beautiful. Also completed is the garden of reflection dedicated to the Nuns and girls lost in the quake of 2010, and a concrete fence with a wrought iron top. The visitors building, the “bunk house” as we call it, was updated with an additional bedroom, a kitchenette and newly tiled showers. Finally, Rue St. Marie, formerly a dirt road with a steep climb and filled with pot holes has been paved top to bottom. This makes it considerably easier for the local Hatians who walk up and down daily carrying heavy goods throughout the day. And we must say, it helps us travelers to more easily endure the trips back and forth to St. Marie each day.
The community center, Bureau LeClerc, was well stocked with needed items we ship during the year. Included are such things as shoes, clothing, toiletries, sheets and towels, toys for children and other necessities. You may ask if the toys are a necessity. They are important because the children have so little to bring them happiness and toys can stimulate imagination and learning at a young age. We are so grateful to everyone who has donated items for the families in Haiti.
We have changed how these items are distributed to the families who come daily to St. Marie. In the past, Haitian Outreach managed the distribution of the items to the families. This year, the sisters of St. Marie have taken responsibility of this process. Families come to the bureau after the team has departed and the sisters have a better feel for the needs of the families.