I had the opportunity to go to Les Bons Samaritains (The Good Samaritan School) in St. Marc, Haiti with nine of my peers over Spring Break. St. Marc is about two hours outside of Port-au-Prince. Our task for the week was to run a camp for the fourth grade students at the school and learn about the Haitian culture. Camp activities consisted of arts and crafts, English, and outdoor games. Camp ran from about 8am to 12pm because of the heat. In Haiti, lunch is the big meal so we were treated to a nice Haitian lunch each afternoon. After lunch, we had down time to rest and then went outside of the school to tour St. Marc and surrounding areas. We also had the opportunity to visit an earthquake refugee housing community, rice mill, and a local high school, James Stine College. Communication was very difficult for us because of the language barrier so we resorted to hand motions, lots of high-fives, thumbs up, and smiles.
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During camp and our tours, we learned a lot about the people and ourselves. One difference between our cultures was the love the kids openly displayed towards us; it was acceptable for the kids to come up to us and hold our hands. Back at home, it’s not often that fourth grade kids openly run to you to hold your hand and touch you. Another difference was the relationships the people in Haiti have with one another. During one of our nightly reflections, we noted the true relationships the people have. Lots of Haitians don’t have cell phones and internet for social media, so the people connect through direct communication. They all showed genuine care and love for one another, something that isn’t always evident in our society. Finally, the people of Haiti are very good at making something out of nothing. At home, if something breaks or we don’t want it, we simply toss it in the trash. In Haiti, they find a use for almost everything and don’t waste the things they have.
Reflecting back on my trip, I truly admire the people of Haiti, especially Dr. Rodrigue Mortel. Dr. Mortel was born and raised in Haiti and has developed into a highly successful cancer doctor in the United States. He created The Mortel Family Charitable Foundation and has built the Les Bons Samaritains school and others. Education is valued highly in Haiti, and because of Dr. Mortel, hundreds of kids in Haiti are able to receive a very high quality education. The students are selected from the poorest neighborhoods in St. Marc and sponsored by supporting families and individuals for $350/year per student.
Many thanks to the individuals who made our trip possible including:
Marc Parisi – Calvert Hall Campus Minister
Rachel Barron – Archdiocese of Baltimore Missions Office
Dr. Rodrigue Mortel – The Mortel Family Charitable Foundation
To learn more about our trip and High Hopes for Haiti visit: