FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, FERNANDINA BEACH, FLORIDA
JUNE 1-5, 2013
A team of 11 (7 youth and 4 adults) from First Presbyterian Church, Fernandina Beach, Florida left Port-au-Prince on Saturday, June 1st on their way to La Gonâve. For all but one of us, it was a first visit to Haiti and first trip to La Gonâve.
We were met at the ferry docks by Arthur, our driver on La Gonâve, and soon Pere Vil arrived driving the new Toyota pickup purchased by the partnership. It is a “beauty” with its protective cage, side benches, and sturdy front grill. We loaded our luggage onto to the truck, and Arthur drove it onto the boat for the journey across the bay. Then we all climbed aboard for the slow, smooth trip to Anse-a-Galet. Unfortunately, Pere Vil was not able to join us; he stayed in Port-au-Prince for the 20th anniversary celebration of Bishop Duracin.
On Sunday, we attended services both at St. Francis and then up the mountain at Sainte Croix in Nouvelle Cite, where we were warmly welcomed by community leader Sander. Our fantastic translator, Roselie, was always at our side.
Back in Anse-a-Galet, we had a lively pickup game of soccer between our youth and the young people in the compound. Even Claude and our youth director Forrest Foxworth joined in…which proved quite a competitive match-up.
Monday, we traveled back to Holy Cross school in Nouvelle Cite. Sunday school students at First Presbyterian Fernandina had decorated puzzles for the Haitian school children. A team of our youth worked one-on-one with the students to show them how to put together a puzzle. At first the students were hesitant, but once they learned how, they were whizzes! Then it was time for the school children to design and color their own puzzles to be sent back to the Sunday School classes here in Florida. The project was a huge success and allowed each of our youth to spend quality time with individual students. In all, we delivered puzzles to each student from 1st through 6th grade and returned with 130 colorful puzzles for our church.
Two of the youth and three of the adults conducted dental clinics with all the students, first reminding them the correct way to brush their teeth and then treating them with a fluoride wash.
That afternoon, we had a lively match of girls soccer in the St. Francis courtyard, watched by a large cheering crowd from the community. The next day, we climbed into “Black Beauty” and headed up the mountain to Trou Jacques where the students greeted us with songs and poetry. Then we met with Jean Thony and 24 of the area goat farmers for a medical clinic. Each of us participated, giving shots, vitamins and deworming medicines to the goats. Afternoon activities included basketball and frisbee and more soccer with young people from Anse-a-Galet.
Wednesday morning, we boarded the ferry for a return to the mainland. The sea was extremely rough and the ride was longer than usual Many of the passengers suffered from seasickness, including some of our youth. It was a unfortunate ending to a fantastic trip… one of the best ever!