Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kathy & Sally Meet the Bishop of Haiti

The remainder of the recent Haiti trip (mid May) was a whirlwind of activity for Kathy, Tom and the team. After spending 2 days in Gramothe, Petionville and Thomassin visiting the villages, school, clinic and orphange, most of the team traveled to Port au Prince for a few days.

Beginning stages of the Presidential palace demolition

Sadly, the conditions are no better there than what we observed during our trip back in March. There appears to be little progress in demolition (with the exception of the palace), rebuilding and general living conditions. The tent cities are still filled to the brim with homeless people and the tents themselves are barely weathering the rainy season. The heat and pollution were, as Tom put it, "unbearable". Electricity was spotty at best, thus our lack of blog posts during the actual trip.

Church of the Three Crosses

They visited the sites of several heavily damaged churches as well. The team dubbed the one pictured above "Church of the Three Crosses" since all signage identifying the building was destroyed. The woman in the foreground was begging for food, water and money, a common occurrence in Haiti.

The Rt. Rev. J. Zaché Duraçin

Bishop Duraçin speaking with the Diocese Task Force

During their stay in Port au Prince, Kathy and Sally were privileged to meet the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, the Rt. Rev. J. Zaché Duraçin. They met at his office in Petionville and shared information about The Red Thread Promise, the Diocese of Olympia (WA), the Diocese of Louisiana (LA) and St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Lakeview (LA). They also discussed the desire of both of the American diocese to partner with their Haitian counterparts on a project in Haiti.

The remains of Holy Trinity Cathedral

Kathy in front of the cathedral entrance

The brightly colored stones in the background are what remains
of the cathedral's once famous murals

Church rubble with temporary open air worship space

Church bells recovered from the rubble

Bishop Duraçin talked about the destruction of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, which Kathy and Sally were able to visit, and Holy Trinity's Complex, which includes elementary, music and trade schools. The cathedral, once known for its' beautiful murals, has been reduced to ruins. Thankfully, the schools have resumed classes in temporary buildings while plans are made for a more permanent site.

Rubble that was once Holy Trinity's School Complex

Temporary classrooms at Holy Trinity

Following their meeting, beautiful young voices filled the room from a boy's choir that was practicing behind the crushed church in a tiny building that survived the earthquake. A sole cellist from the music school practiced in the temporary outdoor school area. According to Kathy, "it was very moving to hear these children singing and playing music in the midst of everything they have endured."

Cellist practicing

Following further tours of the city, Kathy and Sally returned to the states and re-acclimate to their lives in Louisiana and Washington state while Tom, Randa and Noor remained in Haiti for 4 additional days.

Please read our next post to hear about the architectural team's trip to the port city of Jacmel and the exciting project over the horizon.

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