Theresia in Carcas, Haiti – The Mission Continues
It has been 2 weeks since I came to Haiti. I have been working with the medical team of Lands Aid at Notre Dame Seminary in Cazeau, Port au Prince. I am serving as a pastoral care giver, registering patients and helping in the pharmacy.
On June 2, 2010 Fr. Scott came to Port au Prince from the Dominican Republic. He came to join our mission and for the funeral of Fr. P. R. B-Aimee, a Haitian priest who died because of brain cancer. The funeral took place in Jeremie, Haiti. There CTF-SOS DRS is looking forward to implementing a program to feed children in a school that was affected by the January 12 earthquake. The location of the school is in Carcas. (see Map of Haiti)
The journey to Carcas takes 3 hours by car from Jeremie. Fr. Verdieu, the pastor of St. Joseph’s in Carcas, invited SOS DRS to help with the children. Theresia and Fr. Verdieu left Jeremie on Saturday at 7 AM. The road was terrible. I cannot imagine how people can do their work since the road is so bad. However, I enjoyed the journey because the view was beautiful. We passed the Caribbean Sea. On the way to Carcas we also passed by a community of sisters.
The community is run by the Daughters of Mary. The sisters also run a school that was very affected by the earthquake. The school was damaged and 20 students were injured. The sister that I was talking to is the superior and also the principal of the school. Her name is Sr. Mona Jacques. She is a Haitian sister. Sr. Mona was telling me the whole story about the school. She told me that she needs help to build the school again.
After seeing the school and having something to eat we continued the journey. The road was making my stomach upset. During the journey I was asking myself, “Lord is this really Your mission?” My mind went back to the movie “Passion of Christ”. I remembered in that movie that Jesus walked many a bad road to spread the Good News. I offered myself as His servant as we traveled on this bad road.
Finally, Fr. Verdieu and I reached Carcas. When I arrived I asked Fr. Verdieu – is this Carcas? I asked that question because I thought Carcas was big. In fact, it is not. There I saw many people living in poverty. There was no electricity. The people depend on St. Joseph Parish to give them electricity that does so through a generator. You can imagine how much the Parish has to spend to buy fuel for generator. And in fact the parish does not have any support. What the parish does is ask the community to contribute some money then they will buy fuel. Fr. Verdieu, the parish priest, told me that sometimes there is no electricity if the people do not contribute.
The population here is several hundred and most of them are fisherman and farmers. There is a small dispensary run by the parish, but sometimes they have to close because they lack medicines. The parish does not have enough money to buy them. The dispensary charges 25 goudes for a visit (= .62 cents). Goudes is the Haitian currency. The common diseases in Carcas are malaria, high blood pressure, asthma, bronchitis, hepatitis and HIV. Unfortunately, the dispensary does not have many facilities. For example: malaria tests, HIV/AIDS tests, urine tests, etc.
I visited 2 people who were sick. One of them had high blood pressure (220/80), but the dispensary could not give any medicine because there is none. In this dispensary there is no doctor. They do have a nurse. She works from Monday to Friday (8 AM-2 PM) and during the weekend she makes house visits. Most of the people do not want to go to the dispensary because they cannot afford to pay 25 goudes. They stay in the house with their sicknesses.
I also visited Lucie Marie, a 36 year-old woman who has 3 children. She has been unable to walk for the last 3 weeks. The Parish and her family brought her to the hospital for medical treatment but because of a lack money they went back to Carcas and stayed at home. I did not know what to do. Fr. Verdieu and the pharmacist also did not know what to do. We offered a prayer for her but I was asking myself what is this prayer now? I hoped I could help her. The children need their mother to take care of them. When I visited Lucie Marie I did not see any food there and the house was very dirty. So were the children. My heart was pained, and I felt frustrated. I kept asking God what I should do for this woman. I kept asking God to help me to help this woman. I looked at the children so full of hope as they gazed at us (Fr. Verdieu, me and the pharmacist). And once again I prayed and asked God to give me strength and courage to do something for this woman. I hope that after you read this personal reflection you will pray for Louise Marie, her family and the others who are suffering in Carcas. I encourage you to support them as well in any way you can.
Thanks, in Christ –