By Edwige Nicholas
Wow what a day!
We started our day off praising God and thanking mothers. Today was Haitian Mother’s Day. The Episcopal Church we visited was so very welcoming and open. They tried their best to include us in everything and welcomed us with open arms. It was beautiful to be part of that celebration and praise. It felt great to be part of a Haitian church and be a part of the worship.
But this trip to church was also disheartening. My mood changed as I heard the Father (who was a Haitian woman) state that come Saturday she would people to come to church to pray for the church and it’s progress around 830a. There seemed to be a very important meeting and discussions that was going to be made that would greatly and negativity effect the church. She begged for volunteers to come despite it being a market day; a day in which community members depended upon profit. In addition, while providing a tour the church’s guesthouse the Father later revealed how much of a struggle and challenge she faced rebuilding the church and finding members. There didn’t seem to much support coming from the Haitian Archdiocese. I observed our leaders praying with and for the Father, and her challenges and mission.
Less than a mile from the church and guesthouse, we stopped to drop off prepackaged zip locked bags of rice and beans. The people were very welcoming and giving despite not having much to eat themselves. A village leader cut up coconuts and offered beverages. His sister begged us to take her malnourished infant home to give her a piece of the American dream. This experience was bittersweet.
My personal blessings came in being able to see my family! My father and Uncle were in Haiti, and came to get me. It was exactly what I needed, and I longed for. I was so happy to be able to be with my own in every sense of the words “my own”, and hear of funny stories. My family picked at my kreyol and my bug repellent scent. My aunts tried to stuff me with food. I had to eat every house that we stopped at. I thought to myself “I’m definitely going to need a hard core workout” as I stared at my pleasantly popped belly.
Today was a day of mostly highs and the reality of lows. Ayiti Cherie I love you and all that you’ve offered. Your ugliness and beauty all wrapped up into a remarkable country. I’m praying for sustainability and the recovery of my mother land. I long to see you again, and do great works in health education and prevention. Ayiti has encouraged me and motivated my being. I’ve just got to do and be more so that I’m able accomplish alot. I’ve heard my calling, and I pray that I’m able and capable of answering.
Thank you for this opportunity, and the renewal of my being.
~Edwige N. Nicholas, BSH
UNF MPH Student