TRINITY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH April 2-8, 2014
A group of five s from Trinity – Julie Hope, Walton Reeves, Barbara Robertson, John Ryan and Kurt Swensson – departed Atlanta for LaGonave on April 2nd. The afternoon of our arrival, we had a driving tour of downtown Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas with Gary from Go Navette and Dario, an excellent translator arranged for by Pere Vil. Our final stop was a memorable visit to the very lively Iron Market! That night was spent at Le Plaza in Port-au-Prince before we made the trip by ferry over to La Gonave the next day.
A few particular highlights of our trip:
We delivered musical instruments which members of our partner church, Shallowford Presbyterian, Atlanta, had very generously donated for the music program at St. Francois School, including two saxophones, two trombones, a trumpet, clarinet and flute. Trinity supplemented with two dozen Yamaha recorders. We were treated to a wonderful concert under the stars by the school band on the last night of our stay and were impressed at the growth of the music program in just six months’ time since our last visit.
- The two doctors in our group, Barbara Robertson and Walton Reeves, saw patients at the Bill Rice Clinic on two days.
- Thanks to another generous donation of fluoride treatments by Trinity member Cathy Enright and her practice, Buckhead Pediatric Dentistry, we were able to administer fluoride treatments to all the students in grades 1-6 at St. Francois.
- We visited the Jesus Home for Children Orphanage located on the 4-acre Children’s Village in Anse-a-Galets. We provided fluoride treatments for the 80 children who live at the orphanage, then had a tour of the village. What a truly amazing place this is! About 10 of the children who live at the orphanage are enrolled as students in the secondary school at St. Francois. A grant has been secured which will cover the cost of tuition for all 10 students for the coming school year.
- On our most recent visit to La Gonave in November 2013, we became concerned about the number of plastic bottles generated by our group of 10 people staying at St. Francois for six nights — almost 250 in total! This
- trip, after spending our first night in Port-au-Prince and before going to the ferry, we purchased a water cooler like the one we had seen at the new Wesleyan guest compound. (For more on this, see the blog “Small Things” on this website). This will result in a significant savings for St. Francois given the total number of people staying there during a year, as well as a huge reduction in the plastic waste generated. The water cooler we purchased is in the dining hall of the rectory building. It was so well received that we agreed to help with the purchase of two more, one for the building where partnership groups stay, and one for the teachers’ office.
- Kurt inspected the two solar powered electric systems on the St. Francois compound and he and Walton performed maintenance on the batteries for the primary solar power system.
- We had the opportunity to attend a soccer match between the St. Francois team and another local school. It seemed that almost everyone from the town of Anse-a-Galets was there and the spectators were clearly passionate about soccer!
- We enjoyed the always gracious hospitality at St. Francois with delicious meals prepared by Lorieuse and the other staff
Our next joint trip for Trinity and Shallowford Presbyterian Churches is scheduled for November 19-25, 2014. We eagerly look forward to our continued and developing friendship and partnership with the St. Francois community and beyond on LaGonave.
Submitted by Julie Hope, Trinity Presbyterian Church
June 20, 2014