Missioners Return from Haiti

A group of eight returned from Haiti August 23 after a six-day trip that nurtured ties between Christ Church Needham and its sister parish of St. Luc’s in Lazil, Haiti.

Look what I made!

Look what I made!

The mission included two days and nights of mingling, meetings and fellowship with our sisters and brothers in Christ. Most inhabitants in the remote but beautiful mountain village are subsistence terrace-farmers who live many miles from paved roads and running water.

The partnership has been refreshed by annual visits since it began as a medical mission led by parishioner Emilie Hitron, MD, 10 years ago. Christ Church helps support teacher salaries at the local elementary school run by St. Luc’s. With funding from the Diocese of Massachusetts, the parish also supports a cooperative aimed at building a flock of meat goats that can serve as four-legged “bank accounts” for participants.  As individuals, Christ Church parishioners also support a St. Luc’s-sponsored community music program.

Big Buck

Big Buck

The visitors enjoyed–in fact, were blown away by–a high-quality musical performance by the community musicians and their instructor, Aniel Napoleon. A goat clinic and training session were delivered by a veterinarian and a veterinary technologist who were part of the Christ Church group. In addition, the visitors organized a fun day for the school children and attended church at St. Luc’s on Sunday. Mission members met for a partnership update with Father Milor Medela, the rector of St. Luc’s and four other mountain parishes, and Jean Rony, the parish lay leader and school principal.

 

Sunset over Lazil

Sunset over Lazil

After leaving Lazil, the missioners brought supplies to an orphanage in urban, still rubble-strewn Leoghane–near the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake–and played with the children. Countless thousands of children were orphaned by the quake, from which Haiti is still struggling to recover. “I’m remembering the orphans, but also celebrating the progress in Lazil,” trip leader Barbara Murphy reflected the morning after the Christ Church group returned to their comfortable American homes. Compared to the early days of the partnership, she said, many more children are completing primary school and many fewer are showing signs of malnutrition. Barbara thanked the Christ Church community for generous donations of crayons and musical instruments, which the visitors brought to Haiti in duffle bags.

Orphanage visit

Orphanage visit

Christ Church members participating in the trip were Barbara Murphy, Drew Murphy, Margaret Pantridge and Nathaniel King. Holly Hartman, former Christ Church deacon and longtime Haiti activist, co-led the trip with Barbara. Holly speaks Kreyol and helped the visitors attain a deeper understanding of Haitian culture. For the first time, a member of St. Paul’s Church in Newton Highlands–Kyrah Rodriguez– participated as a possible first step in creating a three-way partnership.Rounding out the group were veterinarian Christine Adreani, DVM, a Needham native now living in West Roxbury, and her colleague, veterinary technician and Haiti native Cesaire Gai of Roselle, New Jersey.

Making music

Making music

Click here for more information about the Haiti Partnership and to view a slideshow of last year’s mission trip.  If you are interested in learning more about the Haiti Partnership, please contact the Christ Church office at office@ccneedham.org. Someone involved in the partnership will get back to you.

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