Sue visits Boileau and assists at the Mass

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It was Sunday, our first full day in Haiti.  The cathedral bells rang out at
6:00 AM.  They also woke the chickens, and the dogs – so much noise – there was  no need to worry about who else I would wake up.

The oppressive heat requires another shower – taking a shower means that I  stepped into the outside bathroom and stood under the cold water pipe to wash  off.  Before dressing for Mass I made sure to spray my black linen dress with a very strong bug spray.  Once ready I walked around the compound – hoping to find coffee – no such luck, a pot of water was trying to boil, but was nowhere near  ready.

A Mass began at the cathedral across the way and beautiful voices of children singing in Creole rose in splendor to the heavens.  Kirk joined me on the 2nd floor patio and we talked about our long journey from Port-au-Prince to Boileau,
the roads and coffee – we really wanted some coffee.  Soon the house was waking
and many of our traveling companions joined Kirk and I for morning discussions.

Soon the women who serve in the Bishop’s house were bringing baskets of food to the 2nd floor.  We feasted on a wonderful breakfast of pumpkin soup with potatoes, carrots and beef.  Fresh baked bread, hard boiled eggs and amazing Haitian coffee left us ready to begin our day.

Off we drove to Boileau to attend Mass at St. Theresa’s – a 45 minute drive away – an early morning rain had cleared the clouds from the sky and the dust from the air.  There is a beautiful country side before us and no bumper to bumper traffic, no traffic signals and no yellow line down the middle of the road – pure country driving.  The road to Boileau was in really good shape now with only one area severely damaged, we had little delay until we got to Boileau.


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As we pull into Boileau we leave the paved road and continue our journey on a dirt and rock road, everybody braces as the vehicle twists and bends to move forward with the help of 4 wheel drive.  We are directed to park the trucks at a house about a ¼ mile from the church – we’ve never experienced this before… and soon we see the reason – the small stream is now a small, albeit fast current river!  !  The gradual decline that gently led us across the river is now a five foot cliff.  Wind, rain and hurricanes have combined to bring erosion to Boileau which has completely isolated the village – all vehicle  access is cutoff.  Everything must be brought in by human ingenuity and foot power.

The ever imaginative will and spirit of the Haitian people were not dissuaded by this set-back.  They simply cut down a coconut tree and then cutting it in thirds created an albeit rough, foot bridge that we all, with some trepidation, walked across – we must be talented as no one fell into the river……These are the experiences that keep us returning to Boileau.  Home Depot would not survive in Haiti as the people are too creative with what they have on hand using what God gave them to get through their challenges.


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We finish our walk to St. Theresa’s and find many people already in the church. In my head I am practicing for when I will share the Body & Blood of Christ with everyone.

Pere Kensy begins Mass, the church is hot and humid and Pere Kensy frequently wipes the sweat from his brow.  (I had volunteered to be a Eucharistic Minister at this Mass and had asked  Marie to help me say ‘The Body of Christ’ in Creole.  It sounds like Ca Je Zu – I must remember to press my tongue to the back of my bottom front teeth so I get the pronunciation correct.)  As the Mass proceeds in Creole I am truly anxious – I don’t want to mispronounce ‘The Body of Christ’  which might insult the people.  I also think, what if no one wants to receive from this foreigner and only line up in front of Father……..These fears, like most fears, are wasted time robbers.

It is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever experienced as a Eucharist Minister – to look in the eyes of men, women and children and share the Body of Christ with them, seeing eyes of hope, joy, love of Christ, apprehension, fear and  pain.  They all come to receive the promise of Christ.  I shall never forget this moment in time.

The Mass ends with Pere Kensy having the congregation applaud us and the choir sings us a song of thanks for what we’ve done and what we’re here to do for them.


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