Husky Unleashed: CCM spends portion of winter break on Haiti mission
Nine students representing BU’s Catholic Campus Ministry spent a week, Jan. 11 to 18, over winter break helping Foundation for Peace continue its earthquake relief mission in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which was devastated by a 7.0 quake on Jan. 12, 2010. There, they assisted a local vocational school in teaching and helped renovate damaged buildings and the landscape, as well as spending a day at a local orphanage.
Daily the students traveled about an hour east to the outskirts of Ganthier to a vocational school — the only one in the province — helping adult students with English and Spanish language skills so that they can further their employment prospects (a reality quite grim in Haiti, which boasts an unemployment rate of more than 67 percent). The group worked on various projects, including sanding and painting the wrought-iron windows (there is no glass), painting the inside and outside of the school building, and helping to dig a massive trench, in which the foundation of a wall to be erected around the school will stand. Also on the property of the school is a water-purification system (the only local source for clean water). The students also had the chance to take a break from the manual labor, and teach in both the English and Spanish classrooms, which was an experience they truly enjoyed!
The group worked in Gathier for four of its six workdays. On the other two days, the group participated in more direct work with the local Haitian community. On Sunday, they attended a local church service (in the village of Kwa-Kok), introducing themselves to the congregation in their newly-learned, very elementary Creole (the spoken language of Haiti) and then conducted a miniature Vacation Bible School (VBS), which included singing songs, acting out a Bible story, enjoying a snack (PB&J), coloring a coloring book page of the Bible story, and enjoying one another’s company. After this, the group visited an orphanage operated by the 700 Club’s Operation Blessing. This orphanage was especially for children with physical and mental disabilities, as well as for children who were orphans as a result of the earthquake. They played, danced, held and sang with the children.
On Thursday, they visited Vilaj Kanes (Village Kanes), an extraordinarily materially-impoverished village. Their purpose there was to bring bags of rice and beans, which they had previously purchased and packaged, to distribute to the 63 very hungry families. The group visited with the people there and also conducted a VBS as they had done in Kwa-Kok. The children loved trying on our hats and sunglasses, and climbing in the students’ laps just to be held. The children really enjoyed coloring with us as well. However, it was noted that some of the children were so hungry that they began chewing on the crayons they were coloring with. The group then passed out a snack we previously prepared (PB&J and juice) to help feed them immediately even in this little way.
Overall, the goal of this mission trip was to give BU students the opportunity to serve others in the name of Jesus — most notably these “least ones” in Haiti. Other goals included giving BU students opportunities to experience another Third World culture, to experience their Christian faith in such a setting, to help better (even in a small way) the plight of poverty of so many, and to receive from those they served the joy and the faith, which can easily be missed in our often-materialistic society. Joining the students on the mission trip to Haiti was CCM’s director, Father Timothy Marcoe, as well as Deacon Thomas Aumen.
CCM plans to make such international mission trips an annual opportunity over winter break. Additionally, over spring break each school year, CCM participates in a domestic mission trip (in a rural or urban setting), to help our less-fortunate brothers and sisters not quite so far from home. This spring break, CCM will again be travelling to Trenton, N.J. to serve with the Center for FaithJustice, where it will volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, serve lunch in a soup kitchen, volunteer at a school for students with physical and mental disabilities, and help with various projects at a local thrift shop.
All BU students are invited to consider joining CCM for these mission trips. For those interested in these, or any of our other service opportunities or activities, they can visit the Newman House, 353 E. 2nd St., and talk with Father Marcoe. #HuskyUnleashed