Last Day of the Dental Clinic

May 25, 2017

Bob Swanson ~ Today we wrapped up our last day of dental clinic and saw more people today than any other day.  For the four and a half days of clinic we saw 561 people and pulled 647 teeth.  It has been a very successful trip.  My only regret is that we see so many children with such bad teeth.  It is very difficult to see these young children getting teeth pulled.  I am always impressed with the toughness of these Haitian kids.  Most of them are getting teeth pulled without the parents present and they never flinch when the teeth are being pulled.  I hope that the more fluoride we can get to these kids we may see an improvement in their teeth over time.  Tim has done a great job once again leading the team through a successful trip.  Unfortunately it does not look like we are going to be able to get the latrine built on this trip, but we have come away with a lot of valuable information.  It has been a great trip, and I thank the Parish of St. Michael’s for their ongoing commitment to Haiti.  I really feel like it is making a difference in many people’s lives.  I also thank St. Michael’s for allowing me to go to represent them.  It is a great experience for me, and I am grateful for their generosity.  I am looking forward to see what else can be accomplished in Haiti.  The people are great people to work with.

Tim Ryan ~ It was a great week helping over 500 people who suffered from tooth pain.  It’s unfortunate that this clinic was only for extractions, but hopefully we will move into fillings in the future.  Something that breaks my heart is that when school let out the last three days, the school children lined up to have a tooth pulled. The students ranged in age from 5 to 17 years old.  The number of students who received extractions was greater than 100.  To me this has to change, and I ask for your prayers that we can turn this around.  What gives me hope in this effort is that I have been involved in helping another community in Haiti change for the better when it comes to health and dental.  So we just do it again!

Busy and Blessed Days

May 23, 2017

Don Swanson ~ Today is the third day of clinic.  118 people had teeth pulled today alone. It is amazing how many very young kids have teeth that need to be pulled.  Hopefully some of the things we are doing like fluoride treatments and education will make a difference.  Some of the kids almost seem excited to come in to have a tooth pulled.  Yesterday, we stopped at LaRoche to see the cistern and have a blessing for it.  We found a few things that need to be improved.  But, overall it looked like a good system.   I am so proud of all the hard work and life dedication that my mom has put into the cistern project.  Truly, many lives are improved because of this.  We have a great group of dentists, interpreters and St. Michael’s folks that are working well together.   2 more days of clinic left.

Bob Swanson ~ So far so good on the trip but the dental clinics have not been as busy as we were last year.  It does really trouble me that so many of the people we are seeing in the clinic are small children,  I only hope that in the long run the fluoride treatments we are using now will make a difference in future years.  Yesterday after church we went to LeRoche along with Fr. Leland and they blessed the cisterns.  It was nice to see them although they were not full.  Apparently they had a break in one of the shut off valves and they lost much of the water.  They are planning to replace the valves so they will be stronger for use over the years.  The cisterns really looked good.  What a blessing from St. Michael’s to have those put into LeRoche so they can now have water during their dry season.  After the blessing we did the varnish treatments on all the kids in LeRoche.  I am hoping that will really make a difference for the kids’ teeth.  Has been a good trip so far.  I am always in awe of the great work that the Parish of St. Michael’s does in Haiti.  Thank you for letting me be a part of it.  Looking forward to the next two days in clinic.

Louis Gula ~ We started Sunday with Mass at 7:30. It was a grateful joyous celebration with full choir and all sung parts joined. Nothing was rushed, I could not understand the sermon Father delivered but you tell with his animation that he not only believed but inspired the congregation at the worship.  He introduced all of the team including the doctors and translators. I was asked to give a few words after Mass – before the final blessing and so I did at the urging of our group.  TODAY was a full day of clinic. We got familiar with our stations, and I was kind of placed in the sterilization section. As we wound down I wondered about experiencing  a tooth ache and having no option but to have it pulled. Extraction happens the same way here as anywhere else. No complications – they do use numbing. It’s hot again and I know I will appreciate air at home.

Tim Ryan ~ Clinic is moving right along.  It bothers me a great deal that we are pulling children’s teeth.  It reminds me of the early days in Seguin of pulling kids’ teeth.  The great thing about Seguin is we have seen great progress with the children and now pull only one or two kids’ teeth per year.  Many years of education paid off.  Now we start over in a new area and are hoping that what was learned in Seguin can advance the process of educating children so future generations will be able to keep their teeth.  Thank you for all the prayers!

LaVina Dise ~ Yesterday was a very hard day. We went to Mass at 7:30 AM, 2 hours long, but beautiful. The music was wonderful. After Mass we changed clothes and went to LaRoche for the Blessing of the cistern.  Again it was beautiful, the girls sang for us. After that we went to the dentist clinic. Boy, we sure worked hard. We had 97 people. We didn’t get back to St. Joe’s until 7:30 PM.   Today was another hard day. We had 120 people and we went through the bag to see what we had and what we need for the next trip. You know me… I want everything in order. Poor Tim, I had him on his toes. We have been blest so far, and God sure is with us. Your prayers are working, Thank you so much. Don’t stop. I will see you soon.

Such an Improvement in 8 Years

May 20, 2017

Bob Swanson ~ First day of clinic was not quite as busy as we had hoped.  We only ended up seeing 57 people.  We think it was because this was market day and many of the people were there.  We do miss Daniel and Hannah who were here with us last year.  It was really nice to see Fr. Vilnor yesterday in Port-au-Prince.  We have pictures of the rebuilt church at St. Joseph Parish in Port-au-Prince.  He seemed happy to see us and told us to return to visit any time.  Fr. Leland has treated us like royalty.  He is always so welcoming and treats us very well.  It is great to see the window in the Church that St. Michaels funded.  St. Michaels Parish is so generous to this parish and has really changed the lives of many people here.  Tomorrow we will go to LeRoche to bless the cisterns and see the water filters that St. Michael’s purchased.  Really looking forward to seeing those being used.  Thank you all at St. Michael’s for blessings on this parish.  They are lucky to have you as a friend.

Don Swanson ~ Arrived in Port Au Prince Thursday.  Spent Friday morning and afternoon exploring the city.  An incredible experience.  The city still has a lot of damage from the earthquake from 7 years ago.  Drove through the market area and it took about an hour to move half a mile…  huge number of people and vehicles trying to share the streets.  I had a lost bag from the flight the day before.  So, we had to stick around Port Au Prince until afternoon until the bag arrived. Very thankful that it was found.  That bag had all my belongings for the week.   Today was our first day of dental clinic.  So, many young people needing to have a tooth or two pulled.  The dentists, Patrick and Pasquel, are so efficient yet compassionate how they do their business.  All the kids seemed so relaxed as they were getting their teeth pulled.  I did mostly assist work for the dentists…  setting up syringes and giving utensils.  There is so much need here in Haiti.  It can be overwhelming.  Yet, I think the small things that are being done by St. Michaels are making people’s lives better.  I have heard so much about the well in front of St. Joseph that was put in a number of years ago by St. Michael’s.  It truly is a blessing for them.  The water is being drawn non stop.  That affects so many people’s lives.  Tomorrow, we will hit LeRoche to bless the cisterns.   Looking forward to this.  This has been a life project for my mom and St. Michaels to get water to as many people as possible.  I am very proud of the work she has done.   Coming up this week we will be trying to set up a latrine for Thome.  We also have 4 more extraction clinics and fluoride applications.  More to come………

Louis Gula ~ It’s hot here in Haiti, but Tim and Lavina are asking me every hour if I have taken water. I am religiously. Such an improvement in the facilities since St Michael’s first group came to make a twinning commitment to St. Joseph’s 8 years ago. The water well is providing the community with safe water, the church is built, the old building that held Mass in those days is now a school with a second story for more class room space. Congratulations St. Michael’s for your commitment to this project. We had a visit with Father Vilnor, who was pastor at my first visit. He is in St. Joseph – Port-au-Prince, and was recovering from pink eye. He was happy to see us, and sends his regards.

LaVina Dise ~ Today is our first day at the dental clinic and we had 59 patients and 68 teeth extracted. It took too long to get started with packing and then setting up, but we did get started at 11:00 AM. Today was market day so there weren’t many people there. Hope tomorrow is better. It is hot here but I love it. Maybe it is the Prestige that I love. Rosanne, I’m thinking of you. Father Lalande said he would like to visit us this Aug. if we can work things out. He well be in New York so we would just get him from there and back. I am thankful that I am here and blessed in so many ways. Thank you everyone for making it possible for me to be here. Father is so nice and is glad we are here. We had a wonderful meeting. There is so much to share with you when I get home.  As Louis said we visited  Father Vilnor in  Port-au Prince at St Joseph. He was so glad we came to see him and asked if we could come again.

Tim Ryan ~ All is well with the team.  Set up the clinic today and everyone quickly learned the routine of the clinic.  Looking forward to next 4 days of clinic, and hopefully we will be able to receive the pain of all that seek out our help.

Arrived in Fond Parisien

May 20, 2017

The St. Michael’s Remus Dental Team has arrived in Fond Parisien.  They were delayed a bit yesterday due to Don’s lost suitcase which came on a later flight.  He is happy to have his underwear and continue the trip.  The group had a nice visit with Father Vilnor and is looking forward to sleeping well tonight and getting started tomorrow.

Team Haiti 2017

April 9, 2017

Team

tim3 Tim Ryan ~ This was a great group for me to travel with this year to Haiti.  Pause for a little disclaimer:  I have never had a bad group.  This team delivered water filters, purchased by the Holy Spirit School students who raised money during Advent, so families could live longer healthier lives.  They also covered homes made of corn stalks with tarps so that families could stay dry during the four month rainy season, built a stone wall to keep the water from damaging the home of a blind man, and worked at Saint Mother Teresa’s Orphanage to bring comfort and aid to the babies and toddlers.  I am so proud of this team for all that they accomplished and for making a difference in so many lives.  This is where they spent Spring Break, and I am sure they will remember it for the rest of their lives.  God Bless our future leaders who share faith, hope, and compassion!

Goodbye, Beautiful Haiti

April 6, 2017

ColleenColleen Ryan ~ August 5, 2017. Today as we passed through many sights of Haiti, it came to me, like it has on other trips, of how beautiful and inspiring Haiti is. From above on Radio Hill, Haiti is seen in its true colors as an amazing Caribbean island. This country is filled with color and beautiful culture that is experienced by coming here. In pictures of trash, broken down buildings, and slums, you are not seeing what is truly underneath and the beauty that is so deep in everything in Haiti. My experience of Haiti has been a life changing experience of seeing a country so rich in spirit that I can only now see Haiti in its true colors. The physical beauty of the island is only amplified by the people within, who make the country full of distinct culture and tradition. The crazy driving, the trucks filled to the brim, kids everywhere wanting to take pictures, markets on all the roads, unique art, and most of all the immense joy rooted in the people is what pulls me back to this island every time. I have had another trip of amazing moments, and I cannot wait to come again.

CamyCam Mannion ~ Yesterday we went to the orphanage, and it was one of the saddest things I have ever seen. The kids there have no one but the people that take care of them. Us being there for them so so good but so hard, because you would hold one of the kids and try to give them the affection they need, and then you would go to the next one and the one you just put down would cry and cry because they don’t normally get that love and affection from anyone all day. There are so many kids there that it is so hard for the ladies there to keep up with all of the kids. Some of them sit in pee and just cry because they don’t know what else to do. One kid peed on me but it was so easy not to be grossed out because you realize they have no one but you at that time, and you forget about all the other things and just focus on if they are comfortable and if they feel loved. The toddlers were also hard, because the kids at this age are normally pretty big and can walk, but the kids here are just so tiny, and there are some that can’t even walk. The toddlers are harder to look at in a way because they know that they are left, and they know that they aren’t getting the love that they need. It is easy helping someone in a hospital that you know when you finish helping them they have a family to take care of them and love them. But the sick kids here don’t have that. All they have are the people who help out, and the people like us that come to visit. It was an amazing experience to be there to help those kids.

ErinErin Mangan ~ April 6, 2017. Yesterday we went to three different places around Port-Au-Prince. We went to a place called Tin City. There were a ton of shops with amazing artwork in them. Then we went to a restaurant with an incredible view of the island. Lastly, we went to the orphanage. The orphanage is so hard to go to, but I love being able to see all the kids. Showing love to kids who only have the people who take care of them is an experience I will never forget. I am really sad to be leaving Haiti. I wish I could spend more time here with such amazing people. I have learned so much about this country, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. I love you all so much and I can’t wait to see you! 🙂

GinaGina Vicini ~ Out of the three places we went to yesterday, the orphanage will definitely stick with me the most. The first room we went in had the sickest babies. When I picked up one of the baby girls, I could feel all of the bones in her back but she still would smile up at me. The worst part of the orphanage would be when you would put the kids down and they would just wail because it could be the last connection they would get with a person for that day besides getting their diaper changed. When we let the toddlers run out on the little playground, they were so happy but would also scream when we had to go. This spring break has been extremely eye opening and will be one I will never forget.

AndieAndie Johnson ~ Yesterday we went to tin city, which was cool to see different peoples artwork, a really nice lunch with a view, and Mother Teresa’s orphanage. At the orphanage, the kids would cling to you due to the lack of touch they receive. Most of the kids were sick, whether it be fevers from the heat or swelled tummies from malnutrition. Being able to meet them and spend time giving them some of the attention they deserve made me both grateful and sad at the same time. Through this whole trip, I have learned to take nothing for granted, like ice and mirrors and paved streets, and to find joy in the little things in life, rather than being greedy and constantly wanting more and more material things. Though my time here has been short, I am sure of the difference we have made on these people, and I am hopeful to see this beautiful country again.

EmmaEmma Moore ~ Today is the last day we are in Haiti. I’m going to miss it so much but I’m very excited to be going home. I’m going to miss this country and all of the people who live in it. I really would like to come again and see all of the amazing people and my friends who live in it.

 

 

Abby WAbby Wila ~ Thursday, April 6, 2017. Today is the last day in Haiti. I got to sleep in and after that I showered. Now we are playing Peon. I have enjoyed this trip a lot and got to meet a lot of people. I enjoyed experiencing different cultures and trying new things. This has changed my view on my life and the world we live in. I am very glad that I got to go on this trip of a lifetime and excited to travel more!

 

CassidyCassidy Triestram ~ Today is the last day in Haiti, and this week feels like it flew by. Although I am going to miss the views, I can’t wait to get into my own bed and get a good night sleep for the first time in a week in a half. Be back soon!!!!!

 

 

MargoMargo Milanowski ~ Last night, our group sat atop one of the roofs of the guest house in Port au Prince, enjoying the breeze and cool evening air, listening to music. We were being teens, talking and laughing and fighting over what songs to play, until the power of our section of city cut out. For a few seconds, the only light came from hazy moon through clouds, and everything else was dark. The generators in the guest house kicked on, and our light came back, but the surrounding streets remained dark. We heard yelling in the streets, and our minds jumped to night conclusions, that maybe the power was cut, there was a riot, who knows. People were probably just yelling because the power was out. We assumed this was unusual, but in truth, it’s not. In Haiti, the power may go out. There might not be enough food to feed your children for dinner, that night or the next night or the night after. Success might be making it past infancy. We get to ride a plane home to our cozy beds and lives after a few days without showers, but here, the lifestyle does not end at the close of the week.

Visiting the Orphanage and Touring Port au Prince

April 6, 2017

MaryannMary Ann Vicini ~ It is so hard to put into words the sights, sounds, smells and feelings that this trip invokes within you.  I appreciate the work that Tim puts into this trip to give the team members a multi facetted experience in the hustle and bustle of Port Au Prince to the peaceful agricultural living in the mountains at Seguin.  Haiti is a complex country, and I walk away with a different perspective and appreciation of the opportunities that we take for granted every day in the USA.  The kids on this trip were amazing, it gives me great hope for the future!

MichaelMichael Petrella ~ It has been another amazing trip to Haiti.  This is my seventh trip. and I love watching the first time trip goers as much as seeing old friends that I now have in Seguin.  It was great to see Roger, our blind friend, and help build two walls in front of his house to divert water away when the heavy rains come.  We also arranged for his latrine and cooking house to be rebuilt after the last hurricane washed it away, and that construction has already started.  We also purchased a box spring, mattress and frame for him.  He had been sleeping on a bamboo matt on the floor.  He was so happy he pulled Tim and me onto the bed and made us lay with him for a picture.  The kids all had so much fun interacting with the Seguin kids, braiding hair, playing soccer, learning each other’s language and dancing to music.  Many cornstalk houses have tarps over them now, and many families now will have clean water due to the new water filters the kids delivered and taught them how to use.  I love to share this trip with daughter each year, and I already can’t wait wait to come back.

edEd Moore ~ My daughter came last year, and I thought I had a good perspective for what this trip will bring.  Looking at a picture will not prepare you for the sights and sounds of living in Haiti for a week.  Mountains beyond mountains best describe the scenery but words would be hard to describe the people…  Very caring, honest people that love life and have so much to give. As Baby said taking a picture with the girls and a big grin on his face, ”This is life!”  As my first mission trip it was fun making friends and getting to know the other chaperones.  Working side by side and driving around Haiti we had many great laughs about the kids and little things that happened during the day.  I will miss Sequin.

LauraLaura Mangan ~ We spent a few hours this afternoon at St Mother Teresa’s orphanage in Port au Prince.  I was not prepared for the emotional response of this experience.  Each baby so hungry for human touch and love.  We couldn’t take any photos during our visit, so I tried to capture an image in my mind of each of our kids as they cradled these beautiful babies – each smile, laugh, coo, or just head on a shoulder was breathtaking.

Abby WAbby Willa~ Tuesday, April 4, 2017. We packed up and left the rectory, saying our final goodbyes to our new friends. Took some pictures and hugged and thanked Father Gilbert to which he replied “ok.” I love that dude. He was so welcoming and always so happy to see us. We then started the drive down to the beach in Jacmel. It was my first time in the ocean, and I LOVED it! The water was so warm, and the waves were really fun to jump in. We also got bombarded by vendors on the beach. There was no one on the beach when we arrived, but everybody and their brother found out “blancs” were there. Thankfully, they were easy to barter with, so I obviously snagged some souvenirs. I also got very tan and very burnt. We then arrived back at the Guest House and everyone hopped on the wifi (dang millennials). Camy and I played dominoes way too late, but it was fun.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Today we started our day by going to Tin City (or Tin Town as I called it) and shopped around for a bit. It was so cool seeing all the vendors creating sign after sign and asking us to come in their shop. They had some pretty cool stuff there, but a lot of it would have been too hard to fly back to MI 😦 Again, they were also easy to barter with. From there we took a long hot ride in the 15 passenger van up to Radio Tower. We passed by the rich neighborhoods of Haiti and talked about our communal house we were going to build. There were some beautiful houses there! We also got to see the famous colored houses of Haiti. Once we got to the restaurant at Radio Tower, the view was incredible. stunning. unreal. You could see the coastline and the mountains and the airport and all the different living areas of Haiti. It was so pretty! I ordered chicken tenders and Arizona tea and enjoyed the view. Then we went to the orphanage. It was so sad but so rewarding because they never get that much attention, but giving them a smile and a laugh meant the world to them. It was so hard to put them down. Then we stopped at the grocery store and ate ice cream and bought some Haitian specialties (I’ll show you when I get home, mom and dad). It was very inexpensive, and I even got some Goudes back…Successful last day. See you in GR!!

CassidyCassidy Triestram ~ Today was great, we went to a large market place called Tin City, and I bought a few things and bartered quite a bit. Some of the store owners were difficult to barter with, but I made a few deals. A few of us met a guy who called himself Mr. Gooddeal or Mr. Goodprice, I can’t remember. He even told us that he had better deals than Walmart. After that we went to a restaurant that had an amazing view of the entire city. I have to admit, the chicken tenders and fries was a nice change from quinoa, plantains, and canned chicken/tuna. After lunch, we went to the orphanage where I held a ton of kids. The most heartbreaking part was when I put the babies down, and they would begin to sob. One of the babies I held peed on me and another one drooled all over my shoulder. After the babies, we went outside to play with the toddlers. One of the kids kept coming over to me and asking me to hold him. He gave me several leaves and refused to leave my side. After that I went into another baby room where Joey asked me to “hold this kid because he won’t let go of me”, and then after I took the kid found out that he just forgot which crib he got the kid from and wanted me to take care of it so he didn’t have to. Even after getting peed on and overheating in the car for hours, it was a good day. Even though I never want to leave, I can’t wait to get back to my own bed, take a shower, and flush a toilet. Less than 24 hours to go!!!!!

Swimming in the Caribbean Sea

April 5, 2017

The group arrived safely down the mountain, enjoyed swimming in the warm sea, and are now relaxing at the guest house.  On the agenda tomorrow is visiting Mother Teresa’s Orphanage and touring Port au Prince.

Last Night in Seguin

April 4, 2017

Tonight most of the group is too busy to blog.

BearBearenger Petrella ~ Our last full day in Seguin was full of adventure.  We woke up and had a great breakfast.  After eating, the team loaded up the cars and headed out for ‘Ryan’s Peak.’  We drove through a forest like area up to the peak.  When we got there we were amazed with the view.  Everyone took pictures and watched the clouds until it was time to leave.  We then drove to the water source and learned about it.  The water comes from a spring and is immediately contaminated with bat waste.  We walked down to a small waterfall and took photos again.  We explored the area until it was time for lunch.  We ate by our cars and we were soon off to the rectory.  Everyone was very tired so some of us took a small nap.  We went outside and played with the kids.  We went inside for our last dinner in Seguin.  I will definitely miss Seguin, and I hope to come back again on this trip.

Abby RAbby Rakus ~ Today, we had an action-packed day; yet, it’s also sad to realize it’s our last day here in Seguin. The first thing we did was journey up the mountains to ‘Ryan’s Peak’. Along the way, it looked very familiar to life back in Michigan. The view was absolutely amazing! You can see so much from high up in the mountains! Then, after taking pictures, we got back in the cars and headed to see a water source that had a small waterfall. Next, we ate lunch in the forest and arrived back at the rectory. A lot of us decided to take a nap due to tiredness. After that, we went outside to play with the kids. We just finished our last dinner in Seguin. Can’t believe we’ll be back home in Michigan in the next few days…this trip’s gone by SO fast!

Sunday, April 2nd

April 3, 2017

Abby RAbby Rakus ~ Today, we started off the day by attending a Catholic Mass. It was so cool seeing the Haitian people get into the music! It was awesome seeing a different perspective of our faith and how we celebrate it. Then, we headed out to the mountains to tarp a few houses. One of the ladies that was following my group decided to carry a tarp with her until we got to her house because she desperately needed it for her roof. It started raining on the car ride back to the rectory, so we all decided to split up. I took a short nap, yet it was relaxing. The chicken was really good tonight at dinner! The sunset right now is absolutely gorgeous!

AndieAndie Johnson ~ This morning we were woken up by the sound of father ringing the bell which lets everyone know that Mass starts soon. The Mass was beautiful, and the church was like nothing I’ve seen before. The happiness to be at church and the willingness to sing with your whole heart, which is what everyone did, is something I rarely see in Michigan. After church, we tarped a couple houses before the rain came, which made me feel good knowing that their houses were protected from any damage. A moment that stuck out to me was when we met a quiet girl in frog pajamas, and her body clearly showed malnutrition because of her swollen cheeks and bloated stomach. Everyone here amazes me because of their appreciation for the little things they have, and how the slightest things, like giving them a cracker, can change their day.

GinaGina Vicini ~ Today we got up for Mass, thinking it was at 8, but really it was at 9. At church, it was crazy how all of the clothes were pressed and spotless despite living on dirt. Everyone sang their heart out, and at the end they sang happy birthday to anyone born in April. After church we went and tarped houses after walking through the hills and mountain. My favorite parts of my days continue to be when we get back to the rectory and play/ hang out with the local kids. Today I sat for probably an hour or more with one kid just sitting and reading from a Creole-English dictionary. It was a very long book and we still are not done. I also learned about “WhatsApp” and got some digits. Until tomorrow.

MargoMargo Milanowski ~ I talked with some of the girls here on the mission with me about how the people we meet assume leadership roles – the children all obey the older boys, and when they are not around, there’s an older, bigger child who will tell them not to push each other around, not to stand in front of the jump rope, the like. An older little girl here pulled the boys back when they blocked the jump rope from reaching over the little girls, keeping an eye out for the ones trying to trip them up. There are things that are universal, things that we see in some form everywhere. Kids will always mess with dogs, mothers will always love the children they hold, and someone will always take charge. Our minds and hearts have the same complexities, our personality traits are all the same. There are kids who are introverted and ones who are extroverted, and little girls who are shy and little girls who will ask your name. There are little boys who will ask for food and little boys who will just stand beside you, just like there are little kids back in Michigan who are perfect angels when you babysit and little kids who play pretend and tell you you’re in jail and try and tie you up so they can do whatever you want. Yeah, that happened. Kids are kids, and they’ve got some spunk everywhere.

CamyCam Mannion ~ This trip is amazing. The kids here are so sweet and adorable and never fail to make you smile. This trip has taught me so many things about life, it has taught me that the little things in life matter the most. Never take life for granted, there are so many more things to life that just items. Life is so short and these kids really show you how to live it. The kids here that just come up to you and ask for a picture or a hug or want to sit on your lap just make you smile and wonder how they can be so kind hearted and care about you. The children here are the most outgoing kids I have ever met and I can’t believe how amazing these kids are. The littlest things just like playing with them makes them so happy and they feel special. We whine and cry about so many things, and some of these kids have nothing but it’s like you would never know because of how happy they are. This trip is so amazing so far.

EmmaAlyssaEmma and Alyssa! ~ Today we woke up early to the bells that they ring along with the dogs barking. I (Emma) woke up congested and blew my congestion away:) We went to church, and it was really cool to hear singing in a different language. After church we went to tarp people’s houses and had to walk uphill a lot. We found some cool flowers that tend to make people “crazy” and now they are sitting in the room. It is really cool to see the different culture of the people who live here. The smiles on the kids’ faces makes our day. At night the clouds come down, so it gets very foggy. We didn’t see Ryan’s Peak, but maybe we will tomorrow. We both miss our dogs so tell them we say hi.

ColleenColleen Ryan  ~ This morning we woke very early to go to Mass. The Haitian Mass is always enjoyable to go to since the people are so joyful with even the little they have. We also went out to tarp and Alyssa and I found flowers that are used as drugs for people. In the truck ride back to the rectory we sang old songs and had lots of fun. These trips really put into perspective how amazing our lives in America are. The kids in Seguin are excited for the simplest things like a hair tie or a soccer ball, whereas kids back home feel the need to have everything they see. The joy that the people have here in Seguin is an immense and unmeasurable joy that amazes me every time. Thank you, Haiti, for stopping me in my needy tracks every time and making me realize how blessed we are and how amazing you are.

Abby WAbby Wila ~ Today after the confusion of Mass times, we had a short walk down to the church. We went to Mass in Creole, and although the only word I could understand was “Amen”, it was beautiful. Patrick was translating most of it to us, and the priest was saying how we are all one people under one God. It really put this trip into perspective because that is so true. God brought us all together to celebrate Mass together and help one another. No matter where we are, we are all the same. He was also saying how we often say we’re Christian but don’t do anything about it. We have to act on our faith. I really connected to that because that’s the whole reason we are on this trip, to act in our faith. After Mass, we tarped houses and again, drew a crowd. We met so many little kids and one special little girl in particular, who we called Froggy. She bounced down the hills everywhere we went and was shy to hold my hand. We also saw a skimpy rooster 😉 After tarping, it began to rain on the ride back to the rectory. We sat in the truck bed and talked about our animals and album cover again 🙂 When we got back, Cassidy and I colored pictures and laughed a lot. Then the dinner bell rang so we ate dinner-the rice was not good today 😦 After dinner we went outside to play with the kids again. Valerie braided my hair again and then I was jump roping with the girls. As it got darker, the kids wanted to be held. One little girl, Fila was dancing with me and doing pull ups on my arm!! I tossed her in the air and she giggled. She then wrapped herself around me and held tight to say, “I love you”. I cried. The way she held so tight on to me and didn’t want to leave, touched my heart. Surprisingly, this was the first time I cried on this trip. Then Eddy showed me his Creole/English/French dictionary and we were learning different phrases. He gave it to me so I could study overnight. I love it here because everyone is so happy to see us and always make us laugh. They are all so entertained by the simplest things and it truly humbles me. I love them so much and I can’t believe that I have the opportunity to be here-it is so amazing! Wow life is good.

ErinErin Mangan ~ We had Mass today. I loved all the beautiful singing and praising from the people there. The priest mentioned the importance of unity between us Christians. He gave a really nice story about staying together to fight temptation. We also put more tarps on homes. Throughout the hike between houses, we learned many new Creole words. It is so much fun to meet these kind and loving people. They always show their gratitude to us. I’m sad that tomorrow is our last day in Seguin, but I’ve loved every second here. I will always cherish this opportunity to do what I love. I miss you all, and I can’t wait to see you:)