Fr. Gregory Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thu 1/14/10 5:50 PM
Joanna Higginbotham (email@example.com)
Earthquake Pray for Haiti
Blessings! As you might suppose, I've been fully occupied with phone calls & e-mails (and in between trying endlessly & without success to reach anyone in Haiti)
Dear R0C0R Refugees,
Even under normal [normal for Haiti] circumstances it is not easy to make contact with Haiti. For now all we can do is pray and wait. The aftermath care that will be needed promises to be immeasurable. In the meantime, I have copied for you the bimonthly update on the Haiti Mission which is contained in the latest issue of Living 0rthodoxy, so you can read what it was like BEF0RE the earthquake. -jh
Living 0rthodoxy #173
page 27 minus the photos:
THE HAITIAN 0RTH0D0X MISSI0N -- A C0NTINUING LIFE
Introducing our youngest parishioner - Barbara, with proud parents Fr. Ambroise & Matushka Nicole; our family in Haiti continues to grow!* Happily, the socio-political conditions in Haiti have continued to improve, even if painfully slowly. Streets [some of them] which were before decorated by piles of rotting garbage and trash are now clear, if not clean, enough not to be a horror to travel through. A bus service has been instituted in Port-au-Prince, providing humane transport in at least some portions of the city, and as far to the west as Legoane [still a long way from Jacmel!]. Thousands of tap-taps, covered pickups jammed with travelers, however, continue to clog the roadways, but even their behavior has noticeably improved.
At LaPlaine, work is progressing on the cloture wall for the new land, which we pray will one day be the site of a beautiful church. At about 1.25 acres, that's a lot of wall to build! In the meanwhile, it serves as home for a church family and, to a limited extent, as garden land. Unfortunately, not a great deal can be accomplished in the agricultural department until the wall is completed and high enough to restrain marauding livestock. The deep well we were able to drill a few years ago continues to serve the growing community in the area, providing fresh drinkable water. But getting it from the well to the homes is still quite a job -- that bucket is full of water, and the fence the barefoot little girl has to cross with it is pretty high. Care to try it yourself?**
Life for the family of the Chapel of St. Dorothy of Kashin is hard -- almost no one has anything resembling good employment -- but nevertheless it is a happy family, with many happy children.
As I write, the 22 ton container of food relief for the schools is still tied up in Haitian customs [it's been there for over a week]; we're praying for its prompt release -- especially as after just a few more days we'll have to begin paying $35/day in drayage charges. Still to come, of course, are the expenses of moving the food from the container to the three schools and preparation and serving.
At St. Augustine's the school is functioning well, with more than 250 students this year. Although we've been able to move all classes out of the church, it is still, for want of space, necessary to use the back of the church for some activities.
The rubble-pile you see below is actually an apartment under construction above the school offices, to provide housing space for visiting clergy and others. While the bare structure is done [in addition to what you see there are a small kitchen and bathroom and a balcony] and protected against weather destruction, it has a long way to go to be inhabitable! Best estimate [quite unstable because of rapidly escalating materials costs] is that it will cost around $8000 to turn it into liveable space.
I continue to make mission visits about every 10 weeks on average, usually for 10-day stays. Trips in September and November were both fruitful and enjoyable and, happily, free of any undue complications [apart from disrupted air travel both ways in September, but that's just part of the game!] 0n both trips I was able to be with Fr. Ambroise for mid-week services at St. Dorothy's [surprisingly well attended], and to serve on the Sundays at St. Augustine's. Fr. Ambroise continues to serve there between my visits, so liturgy is served there about once a month.
Since he can't be in two places at once [any more than I can!], services for Nativity will be at St. Augustine's, with the faithful from St. Dorothy's traveling there and sleeping on the floors of the school. Theophany services will be at St. Dorothy's, with the population migration the other way. Help with transportation costs badly needed! God-willing, I'll be back in January, this trip featuring a much-needed liturgical instruction seminar. We beg your prayers and alms!
*This introduction is accompanied by a photo of Fr, Ambroise and his Matushka Nicole with Fr. Ambroise holding baby Barbara up for the camera.
**The photo is of a preteen girl with a laundry size tub on her head. Next to her is the wall that is more than 2x her height.