Goodbye, and See Ya Soon, Haiti!

May 26, 2016

Hannah Swanson ~ It was a fun-filled day today! We got to visit Mother Theresa’s orphanage.  This was an experience of a lifetime.  We spent our time just being able to hold and cuddle the little ones.  It’s so heartbreaking seeing all of these little babies that just want love that they don’t receive often.  I absolutely fell in love with an 8-month old little boy that did not want to leave my arms, (my mom almost got a little Haitian grandchild).  Then after, we traveled throughout Port au Prince and saw the most amazing view at the top of a mountain and then did a little shopping at the local markets.  This place is truly amazing and I can’t believe I was able to have this experience.  I am so blessed for that.  This will not be my last time here so, SEE YA SOON HAITI!

 

Bob Swanson ~ Oh my gosh, what an experience at the orphanage.  I left there with tears in my eyes.  All those children who were in need.  To have those little ones in in my arms and then to have to walk away from them is heartbreaking.  Having said that, Mother Theresa’s Orphanage is amazing.  To see what they do to help the little ones coming in who are severely dehydrated or malnourished and the nuns there are willing to take care of them so well.  They do a lot of good work there.  It is also awesome to think we are walking in the same tracks that Mother Theresa walked in.  The afternoon was spent doing some site seeing in Port Au Prince.  What an amazing country and I am sorry we are leaving tomorrow.  The week has flown by and I am not ready for it to end.  It was awesome that I was able to share this experience with my mother, daughter, nephew, and awesome people like Lavina and Tim.  I am so thankful to the people of St. Michaels who helped to sponsor this trip and made this all happen.  Your generosity is amazing.  I feel blessed to have what I have.  The people of Haiti do not have nearly what we have but you never hear them complain.

 

Terry Swanson ~ Our journey is nearly over.  The day was a very special one.  Being with the children and babies at Mother Theresa’a House is touching.  They love to be snuggled and hugged.  Putting them back into their beds is the hard part.  It is sad to leave them crying to be held more.  The young boys loved the soccer balls.  We enjoyed watching them play.  The afternoon was seeing the sights of Haiti and shopping for special things to bring home. Though it will be good to be home I find leaving Haiti sad.  This was a week that was very special.  Because of the accomplishments and the joy of being with this team…..Tim, a faithful friend of Haiti and my mentor, Lavina who works so hard and is always with the traveling team.  Having my son and 2 grandchildren be a part of the dental clinic was such blessing.  I am grateful!

 

LaVina Dise ~ Today is our last day. and I am so thankful that we were to visit Mother Theresa’s Hospital. It is wonderful to see the babies and hold them and give them all the love we can. They are so beautiful and just need all the love we can give. The children love the soccer balls and toys we brought them. We hove a lot of pictures to share with everyone when we get home. Hope to see you soon. Tomorrow morning we are on our way home and will be home at night. I thank God for a wonderful trip and for being able to get so much done.

 

Daniel Swanson ~ Yesterday I was not able to go to the last day of the dental clinic because I was sick when I woke up, but by the end of the day I was feeling back to normal for the most part thankfully.  Although, I do wish I could have made one last trip up into the mountains before leaving Haiti.  It was one of the most scenic and beautiful places I have ever been.  Now that we are back in Port Au Prince, we are staying at Wall’s guest house again and have been loving the air conditioning at night.  Today was a good day to relax and go to Mother Theresa’s Orphanage and do some sight seeing.  We were not able to take pictures there, but holding the babies there was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  I could tell that they loved the attention from everyone that was there to spend time with them.  After the orphanage we were able to do some sight seeing, and we went to a restaurant overlooking all of Port Au Prince, and ate lunch with the most scenic view.  It is hard to believe that this trip is coming to an end now.  I do not have any regrets on coming here at all.  It has been one of the most eye opening experiences of my life and I am so thankful for the people that I was able to share it with.  Being here with family has made it all the better and the people I have met on this trip I plan on keeping in touch with.  It was also nice to have Hannah here so that I have someone my age that I am close to.  I am happy to see her, my grandma, and Uncle Bob enjoy this just as much as I have.  I feel blessed that God was watching over us and helping us with everything that we did on this trip.  Haiti is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to, and everyone here that we have encountered have greeted us with love. I sure hope that this trip is not my last here.

Eye-Opening Experiences

May 25, 2016

Bob Swanson ~ We had a great day in clinic today.  Got there early this morning and put in a full day.  The dentists saw over 100 patients today.  It was nice to see some rain up in the mountains.  We did not get much rain at all at St. Joseph’s.  We went to a local school this morning to talk to the students about dental hygiene.  I was amazed at the size of some of the classrooms.  One room had over 140 students packed in the room.  Not sure how any learning occurs in that type of environment. Hannah and Daniel did a really good job talking to the kids.  I hate to see the week coming to an end.  Tomorrow will be our last day in the dental clinic.  I feel so blessed to be here in Haiti to share this experience with the group.

Hannah Swanson ~ Today was great! Daniel and I were able to go over to a near by school and talk to the kids about good dental hygiene.  It was amazing to see the difference in class size compared to in the US.  In one classroom, there were 140 kids which was shocking.  Meanwhile, the clinic was still running, serving over 100 patients again today.  We have one more day at the clinic and hope to finish up all the people who need help with their teeth! It’s has been an absolutely amazing trip, and we will see what else we have in store for the rest of the trip.

Terri Swanson ~ This is our last night in Fonds Parisian  There is a sadness in leaving Fonds Parisien tomorrow.It was a fun time and very productive.I will miss it it all except the hot, hot weather.  It was a special team with Tim, Bob, Daniel, LaVina, Hannah.

LaVina Dise ~ It has been a very good day. We met with Father Lalande and it went well. It was the 4th day for for our dental clinic today and had more people than any other day. Everyday we think they would slow down, but they keep coming from some where. God just keeps sending more people who need their teeth pulled. Thank God we are here to help the people here that need help. I sure enjoy my time with the team, Terri, Bob, Hannah, Daniel, and Tim. It is a wonderful trip and to think tomorrow is the last day. Thank you God for this trip.

Daniel Swanson ~ Today we were able to accomplish more than I could have hoped for. Hannah and I were able to go to a public school across the street and teach them about dental hygiene, one of which had over 140 children. It is a huge difference from schools in the United States, and was truly eye opening to me.  I could not have asked to be here with a better group of people, especially since half of them are my family, and getting to know the interpreters, drivers, doctors, Tim, and LaVina has been a blessing.  We have had so much fun while accomplishing everything that we came here for.  I think that along with the people in Haiti who we have been able to help, we have all gotten so much out of this trip as well.  I look forward to the last few days of our stay here and what is to come in them.

Working with Mission Teams is Always a Joy

May 23, 2016

Patrick Alziphat ~ Working with the mission teams is always a joy, because I learn so much and respect what I have in Haiti. Sometimes it makes me feel like I am rich, and I am very grateful for all you guys do in Haiti. Today we went to church, and after church we ate, and then we went to do clinic.  While we did clinic everyone just laughed and enjoyed the clinic. Although we started clinic late today we saw more than the other day, and still no one is complaining about how tired they are, and it makes me feel good to be around them because they know they came here to help, and no one is minding the heat or not having the luxury things that they have when they are in the United States. I know that GOD is in the team and with the team. I appreciate them all, and enjoy being around them all. I will pray for them all, and hope they come back again not only to help the people of Haiti, but to give me a job, so I can keep supporting my family.

Daniel Swanson ~ This morning the church was filled with people for Mass.  We were able to hear the choir that we have been listening to practice all week, who were absolutely amazing singers.  Even though we did not understand what they were singing, it was easy to tell that they truly meant everything that they sang.  Thanks to Patrick we were able to have Father Leland’s homily translated to us, and my Uncle Bob and I were able to speak to the people at Mass to tell them how thankful we were for how greatly they have welcomed us.  It has been great getting to know the people here more and more such as Pascal, Will, and both Patricks.  Today at the clinic even though we had to start late, we were able to serve over one hundred people.  Then after we are all tired we were able to come back to a huge dinner just as we have everyday. I am more and more thankful for the opportunity to come here and serve the people of Haiti everyday, and have enjoyed my time here greatly.

Hannah Swanson ~ Today was a busy, busy day.  We started off with an amazing church service with so many beautiful singers.  After, we headed off for another day at the clinic and served more people today with over 100 patients. It is amazing to see the help that we are giving to these people up in the mountains. The people seemed so grateful for our work which made all of us feel great.  The time so far has just been amazing and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for us on this trip. You guys will love the pictures!

Bob Swanson ~ What a beautiful Mass this morning!  The church was full and the singing was great.  We spent the afternoon in clinic and had a very successful day.  It is so hard to see so many very small children having teeth pull because of poor tooth hygiene.  The dentists here are really doing a good job.  I have to say the Haitian children are very brave and do not complain while having their teeth pulled.  I am very happy to be on this trip and be a part of this project.  I am thankful to St. Michael’s Parish and to Haiti Needs You for all your support and commitment to the people of Haiti.  I feel that a lot of good things are happening here.  Thanks for the opportunity.

LaVina Dise ~ It’s anther day and a busy day. Mass started out at 7:30 AM and it was 9:30 AM when we got out. But it didn’t seem that long at all because the music was so good. I love to listening to them.. I am going to miss that music when I go home. Then we had something to eat and then off to work. We didn’t get started until after 11:00 and worked up to 4:30 PM. We had more people today than any other day. Thank God for today.

Dental Clinic in the Mountains

May 22, 2016

Daniel Swanson ~ We were able to make our second trip up to the village of Thoman today and held the dental clinic again.  Today we were able to make it through ninety one people in even less time.  Outside of the clinic it has been great to spend time around St. Joseph Fond Parisian.  They have fed us extremely well everyday and are always beyond friendly towards us.  Their hospitality has been a blessing to come back to everyday.  Other than that, I am enjoying this trip very much and am thankful for the opportunity to travel with everyone here.

Terri Swanson ~ We went to early morning Mass this morning.  The dental team had
another busy day.  They served many people. It is enjoyable to keep supplies ready for the dentists and to assist them in choosing instruments. The younger people in our group, Hannah and Daniel find time to enjoy the children playing a little soccer and whiffle ball. They all enjoy the candy. We had an interesting morning meeting with the man from ‘Gift of Water’.  This is a very satisfying and fun trip. So many things seeming to fall in place,  I know it is all the prayers.

LaVina Dise ~ What a day, it is so HOT here that I’m melting away (Don’t I wish). But it was a very good day for us today. Terri and Bob and Father met with ‘Gift of Water’ today and it looks like we are getting the water purifiers for the people in LaRoche. We had 91 patients, and we did put a good day work in today. We also, talked to Father on all the things we were trying to get answers. We will get a full report when we get home.

Hannah Swanson ~ Today was another successful day at the dental clinic.  Each day seems to be getting hotter and hotter.. In the clinic, we helped 91 people from all ages. The little ones getting teeth pulled just broke my heart.  Many of the things that we came to do are starting to come together, and we are finding ways to complete it.  So interested to see how Mass is tomorrow.  This trip has been amazing so far, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next couple of days!

Bob Swanson ~ Today was another really good day.  We started out the day meeting with people from Gift of Water.  I think we made some good progress and and have put a plan in place to get 100 water filtration systems in pace for families in LeRoche.  There is still a lot of work to do with this project but today was a great step in the right direction. Our afternoon was spent in the dental clinic and saw more people than yesterday.  It has been a great experience being here and has been awesome to be able to share this experience with my mom, my daughter, and my nephew.

Tim Ryan ~ Happy to be here with this team.  Moving the dental clinic to the mountains has worked out really well.  We are seeing many people who we would not have seen had we done the clinic at sea level.  Plus the views are some of the best in Haiti … with the exception of Ryan’s peak.

Fond Parisien

May 21, 2016

Daniel Swanson ~ Today was the first day of the dental clinic that we are holding in a village up in the mountains near Fond Parisien.  The drive up was long and rocky, but the views while driving through the mountains were absolutely beautiful. When we arrived we set up a clinic in the chapel of that village, and by that time there were already many people waiting for us both young and old.  Once finally getting set up we ended up treating eighty-three people, most of whom needed multiple teeth pulled.  While the dentists did this we helped clean utensils, prepare syringes, and have trays ready for them.  It was amazing to see how much of a need there was for the dental care given to the people who lived in the mountains as it is something that we often take for granted.  Near the end of the clinic today we were also able to give some of the children who were still there balls, bats, and candy that we had brought for them, and although we were not able to communicate with them easily, we could see how thankful they were for them.  Overall, the first day of the clinic was long, but was one of the first things we were able to do here that I could tell was absolutely needed and the people of this village were truly grateful for.  Being my first trip to Haiti, this has been a truly eye opening experience to be exposed to this level of poverty, but I do not regret coming in the least bit.  I look forward to going back to the village for the next three days and hopefully being able to serve just as many people as we did today.

Terri Swanson ~ We arrived in beautiful Haiti to beautiful weather.  Nothing but sunshine.  It is very hot. All the prayers from family and friends and our parish family are pretty good prayers!  it looks like the cistern is going to be built. Tomorrow morning we meet with someone from Gift of Water to talk about chlorine water purifiers for the village.  Today was our first day of dental clinic.  It went very well. It is always a privilege to be here. I am grateful for the opportunity.

LaVina Dise ~ It is beautiful here in Haiti. We also have done so much already, and it is only been two days. Yesterday, we visited “Love a Child” and met the man who will work with us on putting in the cistern in LeRoche. Looks good. Today we had our first day with the dental Clinic and had 83 patients. Also, we talked with Father Lalande and he is a wonderful man. I do want to thank all my family and friends for all the prayers. They are working, I am so thankful to be here.

Bob Swanson ~ It has been a good trip so far.  Yesterday we had a successful trip to LeRoche with Love a Child.  It seems they are now committed to assisting us with getting a cistern built in LeRoche.  This has been a long time coming and it is nice to things start to come together.  The first day of dental clinic was today, and things seemed to go very well.  We saw 83 people.  The two dentists here are amazing.  They really work had to do an amazing number of extractions. The weather here is very hot.  We are sitting around the table here now and it is really hot.  I feel blessed to be a part of this trip, and I am hoping do some work that can give the very friendly people of Haiti a better life.  Everyday here tells me how very blessed we are and how well we have it back in Michigan.

Hannah Swanson ~ First off, this trip has been amazing so far, but dang it’s hot!  We seem so busy since the day we arrived.  Going great with the occasional hiccup along the way such as the group ditching me on the airport tram (just kidding, my mistake) or leaving a piece of luggage at the airport.  Today, the dental clinic went great and was able to watch the benefit we had among the community. Getting up close and personal was no problem for us as we held the hand of a women getting four of her teeth pulled.  The gorgeous view on the way up to the village was just a topper on the amazing feeling it is to help so many people that are in need. Truly blessed.

Arrived!

May 19, 2016

The group from St. Michael’s in Remus has arrived in Port au Prince.  They are at the guest house and look forward to beginning their adventure tomorrow.

2016 High School Spring Break Team

April 11, 2016

IMG_0237

A Great Ending of an Awesome Trip

April 11, 2016

Maggie Kane ~ Yesterday was a great ending of an awesome trip. We went to the orphanage, and the kids there were so cute and just loved to be loved. It was so cool being where Mother Theresa lived and worked. We then went to the museum, which wasn’t really up my alley but still some interesting things to see there. We went to a look out point. It was very beautiful and had some great food there. At the end of the day, we had to say goodbye to a few of our translators. They were awesome people, so as you can imagine it was not easy to do. I had an amazing time on this trip. 10/10 definitely would recommend.

 

Dan Lenkiewicz ~ As we prepare to leave Haiti I am very impressed with the compassion of the girls on this trip. Under less than their usually living standards, they have shown ability to relate with the people of this country . From the adults and teenage boys in the Seguin to the babies in the orphanage, the girls have overcome the language and cultural barriers to have a positive experience and impact on the Haiti community. I am looking forward to getting back to my own bed and of especially my wife.

 

Becca Dull ~ It’s 81 degrees right now and sunny, it’s been awesome here. I don’t want to leave yet because I’ve had such a great time here. I’ve learned so much here and I’m so grateful for what I have back home. I’ve learned to just deal with it and not complain. Coming here has been such an amazing experience,e and I intend to come back again soon. 

 

Olivia Kelbel ~ Yesterday was the end of a very influential trip. It was super sad to have our interpreters leave. Today we were able to sleep in, but of course Kenzie and I woke up at 5:30 again… This trip has helped me really see how God works all over in countless ways. I am so glad I got the opportunity to be a part of this and grow closer to the girls, they’re awesome! (: I wish I could say I get to go home and sleep in my own bed but I’m gone for another 6 days!!(: 

 

Lauren Buczkowski ~ It is only 10 in the morning and already almost 90 degrees! Today is another long day of traveling (hopefully we won’t be stuck on a plane for eight hours this time! I’m soaking in every last ray of sun in this beautiful country before I head back to snowy Grand Rapids. This trip was amazing and exceeded my expectations in every way. When people ask me to show them pictures or describe the trip, it is impossible. This mission trip can only be truly understood first-hand. Many are worried of disease and are frightened to see the poverty in third world countries, but 2/3 of God’s name is GO. Go serve the Lord. 

 

Tom Krueger ~ April 7, 2016 and we are headed home.  My time in Haiti was certainly eye opening.  The abject poverty and the lack of basic resources we take for granted is everywhere.  But also is the compassion and gratefulness of the people of Seguin.  However, this blog is more about the fifteen girls who chose to give up their spring break to serve those less fortunate.  In a word….impressive.  These young ladies are strong, smart and compassionate.  They never hesitated to “roll up their sleeves” and do what was needed to make life just a little better for people they will likely never see again.  There were a lot of physically and emotionally challenging moments, and the girls never complained, never wavered in their desire to help.  That they are good kids is an understatement, they are an inspiration to me and everyone they come in contact with.  Thank you to Tim, Dan, Michael and every one of the fifteen girls for teaching me how to be more compassionate, loving and unselfish.  God bless them all.  

One Week Has Gone By Incredibly Fast

April 7, 2016

Colleen Ryan ~ Our last official day in Haiti was a very enjoyable time. First thing in the morning we went to Mother Theresa’s orphanage and played with the little children and held the small babies. It was a very eye-opening experience, and it was heartbreaking to leave them and not take all of them home. After that, we headed to the museum and saw many parts of Haiti’s past. The interesting pieces of history gave me a clearer understanding of Haiti. We ended the day with a relaxing lunch on Radio Hill and drove back with the sun setting on the city. I have loved my second trip to Haiti and can’t wait to come again next year.

 

Bearenger Petrella ~ Our last full day in Haiti was full of adventure.  We woke up and got ready to go.  We headed to Mother Theresa’s orphanage.  Once we got there we stood right where Mother Theresa walked herself.  It was amazing to see where she walked and stood.  We went inside and saw all the kids.  We were able to play with the kids.  We held babies and played with the older kids.  It was hard to leave.  We then went to the museum and saw many things from Haiti’s past.  We even saw the anchor of the Santa Maria.  Lastly we headed to Radio Hill.  There is a small restaurant where we bought fries.  We also were able to take advantage of the amazing view available.  You are able to see all of Port au Prince from the ocean to the runway of the airport.  There are shops where you can buy small souvenirs.  Once we had finished we drove back to our guest house for the night.

 

Lauren Buczkowski ~ I can’t believe it’s our last day here in Haiti! Countless memories and friendships have been made. I have both found and lost myself. I have found God. I have found happiness. I have found hope from those who have every right to be hopeless. I have lost vanity and greed. I have lost doubt and fear. My second trip in Haiti has been a complete success. Seguin will forever hold a special place in my heart. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I have plans for you, declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you hope and a future.”

 

Maddie Sprite ~ Lauren said it perfectly.. this trip has been a dream come true for me.  It has showed me how true and real God really is.  I really have no words to describe how full my heart is right now.  This trip changed my life all the way around, and I will forever be thankful for everything that I’ve encountered this week.

 

Danielle Dull ~ It feels crazy to me that today is our last day. This one week has gone by incredibly fast, yet still it feels as if we have been in Haiti for a month. So much has happened in the past few days,  I have met so many people, created so many memories, been on wonderful adventures and gotten a new perspective to the world I know so little about. I especially liked interacting with the children. At first sight, we have just about no similarities; we don’t even speak the same language. Yet, there was always an instant connection. Laughing and playing with the kids felt like the most natural thing in the world. I truly saw God in their eyes, felt Him in their hugs, and heard Him in their laughter. I will definitely be returning to Seguin.

 

Emma Moore ~ Today was really cool because we got to visit the orphanage. I really liked holding all the children and playing with them; it was a ton of fun. I am looking forward to coming back to Michigan but also will miss Haiti and all the people. Definitely want to come back!

 

Saying Goodbye to Seguin

April 6, 2016

Stephanie Kaminski ~ Today was probably one of the hardest moments of my life. I had to say goodbye to many people who have made such a big impact on my life. However, it wasn’t a goodbye. It was a see you later. I gave everyone my goodbye hugs and there was one person left, Mackinson. I looked at him, and the smile that he always has isn’t there. He looks sad. I give him a hug and start crying on his shoulder so I go to the car and hug my backpack and just cry. Once everyone is in the cars, he and Ribley come up to our car so we roll down the window and he sees me crying and just looks at me. I looked away and started crying again. As we start to roll up the windows I look over one last time and he flashes me one more smile. Everyone in Haiti will forever remain in my heart and prayers. I look to Haiti as another home. I come here to help them, when in reality I think they are actually helping me. These past 3 mission trips have forever changed my life. I will always remember my experiences here.

 

Maggie Kane ~ It has yet to sink in that that may or may not be my last time seeing the kids and people of Seguin. It has been a wonderful journey, and I have made relationships with so many great people on this trip. We stopped by the beach on our way to this guest house and stayed by the beautiful ocean and beach for a couple hours. It felt like a real spring break lol. Anyway it is so bittersweet to know we are coming home soon.

 

Megan Cook ~ Saying goodbye to the friends I made up in the mountain was one of the hardest things. They have already made such a big spot in my heart, and I already miss each one of them very much. We made it down the mountain today which was fun to watch out the window the whole way since last time I slept on the way up. We are now at a guest house and will be going to an orphanage tomorrow. It’s sad to think that my trip is coming to an end, but I also am beyond blessed to have made the memories I have and made some new friends:)

 

Maddie Sprite ~ Today was completely heartbreaking.. saying goodbye to the boys who literally changed my life was nearly impossible.  They have left a mark on my heart, and I’m forever moved by what they do.  I only hope that God grants me the ability to be able to see them again.  They are inspirations.  I’m so sad to be coming home… I feel like I could live here forever.  Still miss you guys at home and love you bunches! p.s. be ready for a new Maddie😉