Caz-Haiti rises peacefully from ashes
Parishioners deliver much needed supplies to impoverished village
By Willie Kiernan
In October of 2001, St. James Catholic Church adopted a foreign parish as a sister church and the Haiti Twinning Project began. Donations and prayers were collected and sent to a village outside the city of Cap-Haitian called Thibeau, where sister parish St. Ives is manned by Father Joseph Almyre. Through the years, several parishioners have made the trip to Haiti to further understand their needs.
"We are all ashes and we will return to ashes. The Haitians live in ashes," said parishioner Bob Hood. "They have no electricity, no sewers, no decent roads, and yet living out of these ashes, our Haitian sisters and brothers in Thibeau have a peace, a peace that most of us do not have. And yet we have so much, maybe too much."
Recently a party of four Cazenovians, Hood and his wife Jean, Shannon Richard and Father Peter Worn, journeyed to Thibeau to bring medical supplies, food and provisions and to also extend an invitation for Father Almyre and four other Haitians to visit Cazenovia this summer for five days. The intent is to bring them here to teach them so that they may teach.
Bob Hood said by them coming here, it puts a face on the needs of people. He said, by helping them, it fills a need that he has.
"Everybody has something they feel they're called to do and for me it's been being a part of the twinning committee," Richard said. "And the fact that I was able to visit; it's been a true gift for me."
Richard traveled to Haiti for the first time in her life with only a backpack. She expected to sleep on the ground or on a concrete slab with the backpack as her pillow. After a plane ride to Port au Prince, a truck ride to an airport in the jungle, a small plane ride over the mountains and a truck ride into Thibeau, she was treated to a visit to the church rectory where there was a cot to sleep on and one of only two toilets in the village.