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Haiti is only the size of Maryland, but traveling in this island nation warps my sense of time and distance.
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has begun roadwork from Gonaïves, the capital of our department, where the national highway changes from asphalt to dirt, but no one is celebrating yet. Even as the roadwork crew smooths the road with huge tractors and lays the first layers of asphalt, people hold their praise until they see if this project will be finished in a manner that will greatly impact their ability to travel and, hence, improve their quality of life.
The Jean Marie Vincent Center, better known to locals as the Grepen Center because of its neighborhood zone, is run in collaboration between the Montfortian priests and the agronomy team of Caritas of the parish of Gros Morne.
At first glance, Grepen Center is a well-kept green place. But it is so much more than that. Tucked behind the guesthouses is a large tract of land bursting with agricultural projects and experimental gardens. The agronomy team is never idle.
St. Claudine Thévenet, foundress of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, encouraged the sisters in her community to live this excerpt from the Pious Association of the Sacred Heart's Rule of Life: "When we go alone on a long and difficult journey, we soon grow weary ... on the contrary, when several go together, they walk with assurance, courage, and fresh support."
Bearing this in mind, St. Claudine sent the sisters out on mission, and the Religious of Jesus and Mary remain a mission community 200 years after their founding.
Geri Lanham, a 2nd year Quest-Volunteer for Haiti, brings to our consciousness that the ability to attend school is not something we should take for granted. Receiving an education in Haiti is “a lifeline for many families… Lekó Jezi-Mari started under a mango tree in 1998.” Little by little, the bird builds its nest…
From November 17-30, former Quest Volunteer, Aileen Reid, and current volunteers Pujan Mapchan and Geri Lanham, distributed 60 filtration systems through the program Water with Blessings.
During those two weeks the three went to different areas of greater Gros Morne often accompanied by two local female agronomy technicians, to educated the communities not only on the filters but the importance of clean water.