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Walk with Haiti – Parish Trips
Why Take a Parish Trip to Haiti?
There is nothing like actually going to Haiti, seeing the situation and meeting the people and it is so very important for them too. Through the luck of their birth, most Haitians cannot leave the country, even if they could get the money, since no other country will grant them a visa.
St. Mark’s twinning covenant with Notre Dame de Lourdes requires our parishioners to visit them regularly and build the relationship. If we want to truly stand in solidarity with our Haitian brothers and sisters, we can certainly help them with money, prayers and projects, but even more than that, they are so grateful for someone who will come and listen to their stories and let them know that they are not forgotten, but loved, in a harsh and difficult world.
Our trips should aim to be a bit like what happens when we go home to visit our family – we arrive, embrace and exchange stories, share meals and enjoy each other’s company. Then, if we have time, we join in their current activities or help them with projects.
Previous trips to Haiti have included visits to:
- Our sister parish, Notre Dame de Lourdes, including Mass and meeting our scholarship students.
- Mme Samsan’s feeding program.
- Orphanages and schools
- clinics and hospitals
- the Museum of Haiti
- artisan workshops and stores
In between visits, they also arrange for local speakers about different aspects of Haiti, and daily times for reflection.
Norwich Mission House: Our home in Haiti
The diocese’s Outreach to Haiti organization acts as our agent in Haiti. They have offices in Norwich and Haiti, ensuring our money gets to where it needs to. They also maintain a “Mission House” in Port-au-Prince where we stay when we go to Haiti. It has a staff of housekeeper/cook, drivers, guards and a priest, Fr. Frank Rouleau, who is usually our guide.