Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Reflections of a Haiti Mission Trip - January 2009 by Tom Rosenberger

This has been my 7th trip to the mission in Haiti operated by Fr. Glenn Meaux. I would have to say that this trip was the most profound trip for me yet. However, every trip has been wonderful.

All of the people that Fr. Glenn serves are poor. These people are from 14 different villages; I suppose about 15,000 or more souls. When the poorest of the poor (the ones who have no means to support them-selves) came in to the mission while we were there, to get their monthly supply of food, I was struck by how pitifully little food it was that they received. And, they had to feed themselves for a month on it. They received a couple of coffee cans full of ground corn, a can full of rice and a can full of beans and about a pint of cooking oil. That’s it!!!! I felt that perhaps it would have been enough to feed one of our US families for about a week.

On former trips to the mission, I noted that the mission staff also gave them some cash to help supplement their diet. But, there are so many now and the mission does not have the financial resources to continue this practice. I hope and pray that this is a temporary situation. I am again reminded how far a simple $30 a month sponsorship would go to help solve the problem. For most of us, this amount is less than a single evening out. The mission desperately needs many more sponsorships. There are about 1200 kids in the 2 schools that the mission operates. There is so much to do.

As I helped to hand out the food supplies to these poor, I was able to look into their eyes. They had the most grateful look as they received their meager portions. They would each say “thank you—very much”.
I felt that I could truly see Jesus in these poorest of the poor. Jesus’ command, “Feed the Hungry” took on a whole new meaning for me. I think of what we eat in a single meal--------we are so blessed, and so spoiled as a people.

There were about 430 families represented that day. I suppose that that would translate into about 2500 people that we gave food to. Many of them walked several miles to get this food. They were so thin, and many were quite weak.

As I watch them leave the mission, I consider what my life would be like if I had to endure what these poor people have to live with: The most meager of houses, some with only banana leaves for a roof, is home for many. They have no electricity (I think of all that I have that requires electricity to make my life comfortable.) They have no running water, no sewer systems, no grocery stores, no mail system, no job, and very little to eat.

As I reflect, I think that it is not fair that I, we, have so much and they have so little. They did not ask for their lot in life. And, they are helpless to change it. Even the poor in our country would be considered rich in Haiti. I know that there are other poor countries; but I am told that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. I cannot imagine a poorer country anywhere on earth.

As I consider these things, I also pray, Jesus, have mercy on us. We are the ones that some day will have to face Him and answer the question, “What did you do for the least of my brothers”?