Friday, December 17, 2010

Approaching One Year

Normally when I write my blog entries I don't take a lot of time to think about what I am writing, I just write whatever I'm feeling at that time. This entry for whatever reason was different. I must have had at least 10 drafts that I deleted. Heres the one I settled on.

The one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti is less than one month away. I realized this the other day during a meeting at work and since then I have been trying to figure out what I am going to do to acknowledge the day.

I still have no idea. Dream scenario is that I would be back in Haiti at the temporary Cathedral in Port au Prince listening to members of the parish sing beautiful hymns in French and Creole. I would spend the day with the people that I was with immediately after the earthquake, just hanging out at the seminary. But since thats really not possible I've got to figure out something else to do on the 12th.

Do I even want to do anything? Do I just want to ignore the day and keep busy? Not gonna lie the thought has crossed my mind a few times, but I feel like, if I ignored it, in some weird way I would be hurting all those who lost their lives that days. Hurting those who lost family members and homes and schools and hospitals. Hurting those that are still living in tents and struggling each day to put the pieces of the lives the once had back together. So I have to do something to acknowledge the 12th. I think we all have to do something out of respect and love for Haiti and its people.

But what to do? This is where I get lost in thought. Should I take a moment of silence? Spend the day listening to Haitian music? Make a special donation? Do I want to be alone? Is there a church somewhere that I could go to be with others who care about Haiti? I don't know.

Maybe you can help me. What would you do to remember the anniversary of the earthquake? What are you doing; something your own, with your family, church, diocese, whatever? What do you recommend?

I am struggling with this and your thoughts and suggestions would be helpful. It would also be encouraging to know that other people will be acknowledging the day in their own ways too.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Taking Action


I’ve been pretty quite lately just because when I think about all that is happening in Haiti, I’m speechless.

What can you say as the Cholera Outbreak continues to worsen, with more people dying and getting sick? What can you say as the blame game just seems to continue over where the Cholera came from, leading to protests throughout the country?

What can you say as violence wreaks havoc across the Haiti because of politics and reports of flawed elections? When candidates seem only to fuel the fire and not calm it? When you can understand why people, who have been living in camps for almost a year are fighting for a chance for their voice to be heard; while there actions may be wrong their reasons are understandable?

What can you say when you read reports of mothers picking up their children and fleeing tent camps because of tear gas being thrown by the UN to stop protesters. What can you say when people have been living in camps for 11 months, surviving extreme heat and intense storms?

I can’t say anything about any of this – I’m speechless; overwhelmed with sadness and frustration.

But just because I am in shock and frustrated does not mean that I can’t continue to act on Haiti’s behalf. It does not mean that all of us cannot continue to act on Haiti’s behalf.

Last Spring when I struggled with not being in Haiti and feeling useless, my aunt suggested I make a calendar of Haitian art to raise money for rebuilding. So that’s what I did and it’s for sale now. It’s not a lot but it is a small action I could take to continue to work on behalf of my friends in Haiti.

The art in the calendar really is beautiful and includes some Haitian proverbs. I also liked the idea of the project because it is something that shows Haiti’s beauty, strength and hope in spite of the problems they may be experiencing.

It is available at http://www.lulu.com/ and search Haitian Art 2011. The Calendars are being sold for $22 with the proceeds going to the Episcopal Church’s Appeal to raise money for the rebuilding of the Cathedral in Port au Prince and the schools that were on its property.

Be sure to also take advantage of the various holiday sales the website is offering. If you enter the coupon code FLURRY you can save 25% on your purchase. This only affects the amount of money going to the publisher and not the money going to Haiti; so feel free to save away.

I feel awkward promoting my project like some cheap salesman but I just think at times when things seem so bad we don’t know what to say, we can still take action to help our friends, so that’s what I’m doing and I hope you will too.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Too Much

After the earthquake, I remember thinking, how could this happen. Haiti and its people didn’t deserve this. Haiti has had a brutal history and after all its been through mother nature gives them an earthquake!? Not just an earthquake but what has been called one of the worst disasters in history by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, and others.

That’s what I thought last January, but now 10 months later I can’t help but have the same feelings. Its been 10 months of people sleeping in tent cities. Some even with tents set up in the medians of busy streets. 10 months of sleeping on cold and rainy grounds. 10 months of facing the uncertainty of the future. As if all this wasn’t enough, the Cholera outbreak started.

Then within days of news about the Cholera there is news of a hurricane heading directly towards Haiti. When I heard about the hurricane I thought of my grandparent’s house in Florida and all the precautions there house has to keep them safe. And I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have to hide out in a tent during a hurricane. News reports said that some of the people who stayed in the camps just sat with sheets around them trying to stay warm and dry during the storm as the rain pounded on them. Its unimaginable and something that should never be acceptable.

And now the news says that the Cholera has spread to Port au Prince. Close to 800 people have died and there seem to be no signs of the epidemic slowing down.

The night before the Hurricane Tomas was expected to hit Haiti I was talking to one of my Haitian friends. We didn’t say much. All we could think to say was. Its too much for one year. It’s just too much.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cholera in Haiti

A few nights ago I was talking to a friend of mine from Haiti on Facebook Chat. He asked me if I had heard about the Cholera outbreak in Haiti. Nothing had reached the news at that point. Of course the next morning I woke up to find a New York Times article about the Cholera Outbreak. On Friday morning the New York Times said on its Haiti Recovery page that it wasn’t a disaster at this point, yet by Saturday afternoon there were fears of it becoming a disaster as the disease continues to spread and more people get sick. As of this morning (Sunday) there are reports of Cholera cases in Port au Prince.

Just in case you do not know, Cholera is cause by a bacterial infection in the small intestines and is usually spread through contaminated food and water. In this case it is thought the disease started due to contamination of Haiti’s Artibonite River. Since the

earthquake thousands of people have used this water source for their washing and cooking. According to one of the seminarians I worked with, it is still very difficult to access clean water so even though they know they are risking getting sick they might not have any other option.

(Photo from the New York Times)

While there were fears after the earthquake about disease epidemics, until now there have been none. It’s also the first time in a century that Cholera has been reported in Haiti. I’ve included a link to one of the New York Times’ articles here and to the Partners in Health website that has more information and photos of the outbreak here.

I am not educated on this topic enough to add much of my own commentary except to say that this disease seems to be moving fast and I hope it can be stopped before more people die. Haiti really doesn’t need anymore tragedies.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grounded in the States...

I feel like I am always starting a blog entry by saying “sorry I haven’t written in so long, I promise I will do a better job”…So here I go again…Sorry I haven’t written in so long but I promise I will do a better job.

For those of you who don’t know, I have finished my time with the Young Adult Service Corps, the group that sent me to Haiti, and I am now living and working in Washington DC…This is part of the reason I haven’t blogged in the last couple of months. The moving process was a bit more daunting than I realized both for me and my dog.

By moving to DC, I have realized I am going to be grounded on US soil for the next couple years. I thought of this recently as I celebrated my birthday. The first time I have been in this country to do so in what seems like a long time. I also have been so enamored with fall because I haven’t seen the leaves change color or been able to get a pumpkin spice latte in a couple years either. With these perks of being grounded in the US there is also some sadness in the knowledge that I won’t be living in Haiti or anywhere else abroad for a long time. Living in Haiti and Uganda gave me this kind energy that made you thirst for life and excitement and the desire to make a difference in a way that I can’t seem to feel in the states.

In my new “grown-up” job I’m not able to do all the much involving Haiti. Don’t get me wrong I like my work, it just isn’t Haiti. I think because of this I am increasingly feeling the need to grab on to Haiti. Holding on to the memories of my experiences there, my Haitian friends, and to any chance I have of a future with Haiti in it. If I had only known when I started this blog “Holding Haiti” a year ago how true that expression would be in my life…

In light of all this I have a new commitment to this blog. I will continue to write about the experiences I had in Haiti and those I hope to have, my opinions on what’s happening now and anything else that may arise…if for no one else but me.

I hope that there are those of you out there that will continue to read and share your view points on Haiti and perhaps how you are holding on to your memories of Haiti.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Beginning the blog...again

I’m sorry I haven’t updated my blog recently. I got behind on the posts and then just sort of gave it up. The other day however, I was surprised, when somebody asked me about my blog, and asked that I continue writing. The conversation helped me to realize that I still have a lot to say even if I am not living in Haiti…so I’ve decided to take his advice and continue my blog.

In the next couple of months I hope to share excerpts from my earthquake reflection some of my memories from when I lived there, various projects I’m working on now, and maybe, if I’m really on my game, commentary on some of the things currently happening in Haiti. I apologize because it probably won’t be in chronological order but simply what I happen to be remembering on that day.

As for this entry I wanted to share a poem I re-discovered the other day. As some of you may know or imagine the past 7months haven’t exactly been the best times of my life, This is in part due to the various responses I have had in dealing with the earthquake. The other reason is because after the quake I was sort of plopped back into the suburbs with seemingly nothing to do. I was upset about how people treated me, or how people didn’t treat me, being ignored/forgotten or getting too much attention. Without going into too many details things haven’t been great but I hope to be coming out of that slump now.

I am preparing to move and the other day I came across some of the things from when my Dad died a couple of years ago. It was a poem someone had given me. Those who may know me may think its the kind of thing that I think would be too corny, but for whatever reason it was the only thing I could really identify with after my Dads death. Anyway, I re-read it the other night for the first time in a long time and this time it seemed to express the feelings I have had the past few months. I thought I would share it here; maybe it expresses some of the feelings in Haiti now and a way we can continue to be a friend to them…


Don’t tell me that you understand,

Don’t tell me that you know.

Don’t tell me how I will survive,

How I will surely grow.


Don’t tell me this is just a test,

That I am truly blessed,

That I am chosen for this task,

Apart from all the rest.


Don’t come at me with answers

That can only come from me,

Don’t tell me how my grief will pass,

That I will soon be free.


Don’t stand in pious judgment

Of bonds I must untie,

Don’t tell me how to suffer,

And don’t tell me how to cry.


My life is filled with selfishness,

My pain is all I see

But I need you, I need your love,

Unconditionally.


Accept me in my ups and downs,

I need someone to share,

Just hold my hand and let me cry,

And say “My friend I care.”


- By Joanetta Hendel

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Still Holding Haiti: Holy Week

Sorry for the delay in writing about the next part of my trip but here is the third installment from my visit.

Maundy Thursday

So I’m not sure if there has ever been a Holy Week where I went to all the services until this spring in Haiti. My first day was Maundy Thursday and I went to the service at St. Jacques le Juste in Petionville…the church that was on the same grounds as where I was staying and one of the few churches in the area to not be significantly damaged.


At the church in Haiti it is usually expected that you bring your own prayer book and hymnal and of course I didn’t have one. So as the service started I was sitting in a row by myself and kind of pretended to mouth whatever was going on in the service…until an older women signaled for me to come up and sit with her and she shared her books with me for the rest of the service…as well as every service I went to at the church for the rest of my trip.

I avoid going to church on Maundy Thursday in the US because I hate the whole idea of foot washing. I guess I get the point of it but I don’t need to have my feet washed or wash feet. It’s not my thing. Turns out it’s not really the Episcopal Church in Haiti’s thing either…so I was reprieved from the foot washing.

I will say that the missionary to Haiti I was travelling with gave a really good sermon that night all about foot washing and why we should do it. It was all about love, loving each other enough to serve one another and be served. There was a tent city across the street from the church and she brought up the image of going across the street and washing all of their feet. The feet of people who are living in mud, disease and who knows what else. The question was presented to us about what could we do to serve the people in the Tent City…foot washing being symbolic for some other action. But the message of love and serving no matter what was made especially real for me because of my experiences and being in Haiti at that moment.

Good Friday

I went to a service in the morning at St. Jacques which was a pretty simple service, but following that service we made our way down to St. Trinité Cathedral. Since the earthquake an open air cathedral had been constructed next to the ruins of the old cathedral. It was more than meaningful to worship there.


The service lasted for about 3 hours as what I believe is call the last acts, or the last words or something like that were read followed by a sermon for each one. There were 5 priests and they took turns preaching. At the end of all the readings the Bishop would come to finish the service.


Admittedly it was hard for me not to be antsy during the service but I enjoyed singing the hymns in French and Creole as well as watching two little boys playing but there are two parts that stick out to me the most.

Towards the beginning of the service as a reading was read I turned around, looking behind me and saw Bishop Duracin sitting in a car just watching and listening. He remained there for the rest of the service until it was time for him to process in and do his part. For me, it was nice to see him taking a few moments of quiet to himself, one of the few moments of peace I believe he has had since the earthquake. A time of reflection to think and watch his people worship. I couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking.

The second most memorable image I have is during the service when one of the acolytes carried the cross up aisle playing the role of Jesus with the rumble and destruction in the background. Looking at the picture is better than me describing it so here it is…

Easter Vigil
Late morning the day of the Easter Vigil, Lauren and I were standing around the church. A petite old woman came up and said to us she thought there was a service and she had been waiting for it. Lauren politely told her the service was that evening and she hoped the women would come back that night for it. The woman’s clothes seemed to be a bit ragged and from the looks of her she didn’t seem very well off. She also began to explain that her leg was injured alluding to the pain she was in, her need for medical care and that it would be difficult to go home and come back again. For some reason I couldn’t help but feel some sort of warmth for her and a connection to her and I hoped she would make it back for the service that night.

To be honest I didn’t pay all that much attention to the service that evening (I was getting a bit churched out) but instead looked at the people around me. I was sitting next to the same women I had for the past services sharing her books as usual. At this point she was so used to hearing me read in French next to her that I actually think she thought I was good at French and would say things to me quickly in French and ask me questions. I usually just nodded or mumbled something in response.

There were some people I recognized from other times I had been at the church from before the earthquake. A mom who I had seen at the Christmas eve service, then with her exceptionally chubby cute son, another older women who usually talked to the women I sat by, but as the service started I looked and I did not seen the older woman from earlier that day.

The service was done with the lights out. Everyone brought their own white candles that were lit with a fire started at the beginning of the service. I began to observe the different candles. Many of the members that were present for the service are a more well off than the average Haitian so it was interesting to compare the candles. There was a thick long candle, short white candle in glass, candles with holders so wax wouldn’t land on their hands…

Then the old petite women walked into the church. She sat near the women I was sitting with. She still had a limp and had changed her clothes from earlier. I saw she had brought a candle, a simple white candle, the kind that you put in a candle stick. Clearly a much less expensive candle. She lit it and tried to hold it during the service while balancing her prayer book and hymnal. I noticed that wax was starting to drip on her hands and it seemed as if she was looking for a way to make it better while at the same time trying to ignore it and continue to pay attention to the service. Next thing you know the women next to me helped her out and they were able to drip wax on to the ground and created a stand for the candle. It stuck out to me as a very sweet simple act of kindness, the rest of the service is kind of a French blur.

I couldn’t help but think of the older woman for much of the rest of my time in Haiti Her simple genuine presence at the church. I could only imagine why she was coming to the church. What was she searching for, what she was praying for, what she was thankful for? I wished to know what her story was and was sorry for my inability to have a conversation with her.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Still Holding Haiti: It's Not All Happy

Even though it felt great to be back in Haiti, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared or sad.

As I went around the city going back and forth to the airport I was reminded of all the destruction that I had left last January. All the buildings that had collapsed and were still so slanted that it looked like a gust of wind could knock them over. Even though I had already seen all of this before it was sad to see the enormous amount of work that still needed to be done, just to clear the ruble.

Driving around also brought me back to my last day in Haiti where I spent the morning driving around for hours before finally going to the US embassy. All the anxiety from that day found its way back into the pit of my stomach.

We also drove by some of the tent cities. Some of them taking up only the space of a small public square and others that stretched off into the distance. One thing that was good about seeing the tent cities was to see the tents. When I left people were using make shift sheets, plastic tarp and umbrellas for shelter and while this was still the case sometimes, there were also an abundance of tents giving people a close to suitable place to live. But its still disappointing to see the conditions in the tent cities and one has to wonder when people will be able to go back and live in permanent homes.

One of the things that affected me the most during my trip back was the fear. I was staying in Petionville at the Episcopal missionary’s apartment. It was on the third floor of a building next to the church and right next to a busy street. The night as we were going up to the apartment I remember asking if the building had been checked out and if it was safe to sleep in and the response was something like “We think its ok”…

As it came time to sleep we talked about what we would do if there was an earthquake and where we would go. I wasn’t all that comfortable with the plan but it seemed like it was the best option. Then I prepared a backpack with my passport, change of clothes, granola bars, phones etc that I could quickly grab in case I needed to leave quickly. We slept with the door unlocked so we could get out quick.

As I laid down to sleep at night I couldnt help but about how all this prep work probably wouldn’t be that useful if anything like the January 12 earthquake happened. I didn’t really think there would be time to get out or that I would have the presence of mind to get out with my things or worse that I would just sleep through something. Then I thought about the buildings I had seen which had pancaked. Not very comforting. I laid there stiff as a board feeling like I was back on the grass at the soccer field the night of the earthquake.

Needless to say I didn’t sleep very well and woke up to a swollen bottom lip. Apparently during the night when I had managed to sleep I was so tense that I bit my lip…and judging by the feeling in my lip…I bit it hard and for a long time.

Despite some of the fear, anxiety and sadness, I tried my hardest for it not to become the focus of my trip. I knew that this was what my students and friends had been dealing with ever since I left and I couldn’t let just one night ruin my visit.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Still Holding Haiti

Last time I wrote about my upcoming trip to Haiti, where I was looking forward to returning and hoping to see my friends and students and seeing what has happened since I left. Because it would be probably one of the longest blog entries ever to write about my whole trip all at once I’m going to spend the next few days writing about different parts of the trip. So here’s the first one...
Getting There…
As you might know I was more than excited to go back to Haiti, so imagine my disappointment when I found myself sitting on the plane at O’Hare airport 2 hours after my flight was supposed to takeoff. There were electrical problems with the plane and eventually we had to switch to a different one. We landed in Miami 3 hours after my flight was supposed to land and I missed my connecting flight to Haiti, which also happened to be the last flight out for that day.

I spent the night in Miami at the Holiday Inn and ate at the hotel’s Cuban Restaurant (the Airline Paid). I was more than angry and disappointed so while eating alone, instead of completely sulking, I tried to distract myself by watching planes take off, thinking how thankful I was I had packed extra clothes and toiletries in my carry on, and trying to figure out the similarities between the Cuban food I was eating and Haitian food I should have been eating.

Bright and early the next morning (before sunrise) I was on the shuttle bus back to the airport. There was a small scare that I wouldn’t make it to the airport because the driver didn’t seem to know how to get there and kept driving on streets that were dead ends but eventually we got there and after some small delays on the airplane I was finally on my way to Port au Prince!

As the plane began to land I was able to look at the window and was filled with excitement. As I stepped off the plane, greeted by a small band, and making my way through customs I felt so happy to be back. I eagerly pulled out my Haitian phone and sent texts to some friends letting them know I was there. One friend even called me and as we were talking the mentioned how much happier I sounded.

Even as I waited and waited for my luggage, I continued to be happy. Listening to the familiar sound of Creole. The pushing and shoving as people edged closer to get their bags. The workers helping the older women first. The rich men who tried to do what they could to be first to get their bags. The heat. The organized chaos. The hurry up and wait. Seeing and feeling all of it let me know I was back in Haiti and it felt great.

A lot of my first day was spent making return trips to the airport…seems like the Airline decided not to put my luggage on the plane (or about half of the other people on the flight)…I did eventually get everything but I couldn’t help but be in a good mood about it all because I was back.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I’m Going Back

but just for a short time.

Tomorrow I am leaving to go back to Haiti and will be there for about a week and a half. I’ll be going to help the missionary Lauren Stanley and basically do whatever I’m told while I’m there. I am really looking for ward to returning and seeing my friends again and people that I never had the chance to say goodbye to because I left in such a rush. I hope that maybe this trip could help me figure out a way to continue to go back to Haiti or even stay there again on a more long term basis.

I will be there for Easter Sunday. I was talking my neighbor and when I told her this she pointed out how symbolic it was that I would be there for Easter. A time of resurrection and new life and to see that so visibly in Haiti as relief efforts continue and the steps towards rebuilding begin.

I will also be able to be present for the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti’s Convention. It will be interesting to see what is discussed and to be honest I’m maybe more excited about the possibility of being able to see some of the priests I had met and hopefully some of the seminarians, who I spent so much time with while I was living in Haiti. Before the earthquake I was supposed to be at the convention to assist in different ways and I think its nice that I will actually still be able to do that now.

I’m also curious to see what changes have occurred since I’ve been gone. What ruble has been moved, how much has stayed the same. Admittedly I’m not exactly sure what to expect but it will be helpful to see for myself what has happened since the quake and I think it will help me with some of the presentations I still have left to give.

I’m sorry that I’m only just now telling you all about this trip but it all kind of came together pretty quickly and there were a few days where I couldn’t believe I was actually going so was hesitant to share the news. Looking back I would have loved to have shared the information with everyone earlier and perhaps ask for help gathering things to take to Haiti like tents bedding and toys. But thankfully from extra money that I fundraised last summer I was able to by a few tents, bedding, and toys to bring with me. So I have to thank all of you again who supported me and continue to support me.

Also just a heads up when I’m in Haiti I’m going to try and buy some art and hope to be able to have an auction to sell the art to raise money for rebuilding but its only an idea right now and I will have more information on that once I get back.

I’ll let you all know how everything goes. Talk to y’all later

Friday, February 26, 2010

San Diego Diocesan Convention

I'm sorry I haven't really posted about the earthquake like I said I would. I'm still working on a reflection of my time in Haiti during and after the quake but until I finsih it I thought I would post a speech that I gave.

Since I've been back in the US I've been speaking at different places about my time in Haiti in the hopes of raising more money and so that people continue to think about Haiti long after the media has left. I recently went to San Diego to visit my mom and was invited to give a report about my time in Haiti to their Diocesan Convention.

Below is a copy of my speech that you can look at if you're interested and hopefully I will post more about my experiences sometime soon.


San Diego Diocesan Convention 2/13/2010

Good afternoon and thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk a little bit about my experiences in Haiti.

I began living in Port au Prince, Haiti last September after being assigned by the Episcopal Young Adult Service Corps to work for the Diocese of Haiti. While in Haiti, I was responsible for teaching English to the 17 seminarians and doing various development projects for the seminary, which is called the Seminaire de Theologie Eglise Episcopale d’Haiti. Some of the projects I worked on included plans for a new building to house students and use as a guesthouse as well as an Advent Devotional prepared in English by the seminarians. I really enjoyed my work and my life in Haiti and was happy to be there during what seemed to be an exciting time of hope, potential and growth not only for the Episcopal Church of Haiti but for the entire country.

But on Tuesday January 12th life changed in Haiti. When the quake started I was sitting at my desk in my apartment in Port au Prince. I had been planning my English class for the next day. The shaking started and I had no clue what was going on. People have told me that the quake lasted for 30 seconds but at the time it felt like 10 minutes. Luckily my building somehow didn’t collapse and when the shaking stopped I went outside to find my friends, not fully understanding the enormity of what had happened. I immediately noticed the dust which filled the air and saw people who looked like ghosts covered in white dust from buildings which had fallen. I saw the Episcopal Primary and Secondary school which was next to my apartment, it had collapsed. My students, the seminarians, had been having a class there at the time but had managed to escape.

We began to gather at the soccer field, which was between my apartment and the school, a place that would become my home over the next couple days, and is now, still the home to about 3,000 people who are being cared for by the Episcopal Church of Haiti. While those first hours after the quake were filled with fear and anxiety, it was also a time of great calm and faith. I remember sitting with some girls only a few minutes after the quake as they prayed. Praying that their families would be ok, praying for understanding, but also that they knew that God was with them. As the night progressed news trickled in, a little about people’s families, but also the damage that had been done in the rest of the country. The National Palace was gone. The Cathedral was gone. The Hotel Montana was gone. All the things which had been symbols of power, strength or stability, were gone.

The rest of the night was filled with tending to wounded, and attempting to sleep on the cold earth, as the ground continued its shaking with various aftershocks throughout the night. All I could think about was that I wished morning would come.

I can’t go into here all the details of my experience over the next couple days but there are a couple of things I’d like to make sure you hear. One is the strength of the church in Haiti. The morning after the quake, Bishop Durcin, Haiti’s Bishop, was at the camp with his wife who had been severely injured. At a time when all of us could have crawled into a corner and only looked out for ourselves, the Bishop called some of us together and formed a committee. This group was to begin organizing the camp, where people would go to the bathroom, where they would get medical treatment etc…None of us knew when help would come, and at that time, the Bishop knew it was up to him and the church to care for the growing number of people at the soccer field. Bishop Durcin said that it was important to feed the people at least one meal that day with whatever food we could find, the people there were God’s people and we needed to do what we could to care for them. Bishop Durcin said “We are the church and that doesn’t stop with an Earthquake” To me I think that sentence best describes the Episcopal Church in Haiti.

So how do I think the earthquake affects the Diocese of San Diego? I believe that to be apart of the body of Christ means that we are all connected to each other through good times and bad. That others joy is our joy and their pain is our pain. I think we are all called to be there with Haiti, yes because there was a massive earthquake, but also because we are all connected in the body of Christ and sometimes we are connected in ways we never knew. I wanted to elaborate on this by sharing one last story.

When my mom received the position to come and work for the Diocese of San Diego, Bishop Mathes sent my brother and I each a San Diego Chargers hat as a sort of welcome present. The gift meant a lot to me and I took it with me to wear in Haiti. On the Thursday morning after the quake I was rushing to throw things into my back pack. One of my seminarians was with me and I stumbled on to the hat. Knowing that I didn’t have space to take it with me, I gave it to him. (He had this really old hat and I was always joking about how he needed to replace it, so it seemed fitting to give him the San Diego hat). When I was back in the states my mom told me about an evensong that your diocese had done for Haiti. She told me that Bishop Mathes had preached and used a prayer one of my seminarians had written in his sermon. I went online to read the sermon and was curious about which student’s prayer had been chosen. Turns out it was the same seminarian that I gave the San Diego hat to, which the Bishop had given to me. Little did anyone know at the time, that while Bishop Mathes was saying the student’s prayer, that student was wearing a hat that had been given by the Bishop. I wanted to share this story not only because I think its really cool, but because it shows how God works in all kinds of ways to show us how connected to each other we really are; whether it’s a Haitian seminarian and a Bishop or the diocese of Haiti and the Diocese of San Diego.

It is going to take years before Haiti recovers and rebuilds. People’s lives have been put on pause indefinitely and who knows when they will continue again; when they will be able to go back to school or back to work. All I ask is that through all this you pray for Haiti, continue to think of ways which you can contribute and remember that we are all connected through the body of Christ. Thank you.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti Earthquake

I just wanted to let everyone know that I do plan on continuing with my blog and will be posting about my recent experiences in Haiti as soon as I get the opportunity to sit down and write about it.

Thanks again for all you thoughts and prayers for me and for Haiti especially this past week. Thank you for continuing to read. And I hope you continue to pay attention to whats happening in Haiti, continue to help in anyway that you can and continue to pray.

If you are looking for a place to get more information about what is happening in Haiti especially some of the work that is happening in the Episcopal Church please check out this website

If you would like to make a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development to help with relief efforts in Haiti you can do that here

More Soon and Thanks Again