St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church


St. Bart's Blog

Haiti Day 3: Building Relationships

Posted by The Rev. Mark McKone-Sweet on

We are very thankful for the structure which protected us through the night and allowed us to hang our mosquito nets and generally get a good night's rest.

We are eager to work and there is plenty to do. The work crew arrives and we get instructions through our translators. We are on rock duty. They are building the foundation walls for the next few classrooms. While some local workers mix concrete and others are nailing down the roof on existing classrooms, we are mostly finding and hauling rocks from giant piles to aid in the construction of the rock walls. Allen and Vern are there early and often. Mark and I join them whenever there is work to be done.

Meanwhile, school children are starting to arrive at the temporary school right next door to the construction. Girls and boys are looking proud in their new shirts. The school day starts around 8:30 a.m.

After a few morning lessons, Kelli and Randall help the principal and teachers in distributing more of the school supplies we brought. The look on a child's face after receiving a notebook and two pencils is unforgettable. 

We shared songs and played games during recess. The children love to see photos of themselves and are simply beaming in the "selfies" we are taking with them.

Joy is everywhere.

After the school day, some children hang around and play games in the community space near the school. Soccer and jump rope are favorites here. We get to share in the joy by playing with them. Maya and Sofia jumped rope with the girls last night for hours. As I bring out a soccer ball, I have some fun passing and juggling with the young men here. As this quickly morphs into a game of keep-away and then a full match. I am humbled by their physicality and determination.

Later in the afternoon, our team set up a game station with coloring books, stickers and games like Connect Four and Battleship – both are instant hits. The local kids pick up the games quickly. Smiles are everywhere and the friendly games we are playing do not require us to speak the same language once they are learned.

I hope the children of Loranette are having as much fun as we are. Judging by their interest and amusement, it is clear that

Joy is everywhere.