mercredi 29 janvier 2014

Visit of the “Foyer Ecologique Pierre Salvetti”, Orphanage of the Montesinos Foundation

One of the highlights of our mission in Haiti was visiting an orphanage, Foyer Pierre Salvetti of Montesinos Foundation on National Highway 1. The Foundation is dedicated to childcare in distress, training and education and awareness to the environment respect. To accomplish this mission, the Foundation is based on three structures: the orphanage which is “Foyer Ecologique Pierre Salvetti”, the “Saint-Dominique Institution” which welcomes children from kindergarten to Grammar School and Professional Training Centre, the St. Joseph Polytechnic Centre for the vocational training of young people.

It is the Commander of the Salvation Army, Brother Vilo Exantus, who connected us with “Foyer Ecologique” when we informed him about our desire as “Maeva Sev” Mission, to help a Haitian orphanage with a donation. Since I was with a mission in Haiti as part of the “Lifeline Expedition” team member, a Christian movement for forgiveness and reconciliation over black slavery, I wanted to go there with a few members of the team. Among them, Eglitha, a young girl from Columbia, I somewhat adopted as my daughter, had during our stay particularly shown great compassion for children. Therefore I deeply felt tat she had a call for this ministry and I asked for her participation and that of Inese, a young girl from Latvia part of the Columbian team, who used to translate to the team in Spanish to join us. Eventually the whole Columbian team joined me. Carla, a Sister from Virginia had also brought some baby clothes she wanted to give. I would like her to come with us but there were no more room in the car. So she gave them to me for the orphans we were about to visit.

The Commander Vilo came to pick us up in the middle of the afternoon and drove us to the Montesinos Foundation north f Port-au-Prince, nearhe village of Titanyen. Ilt is an initiative of a Haitian Dominican Priest, Brother Charles Moses, who collected abandoned children, street children and orphans in Port-au-Prince and other parts of the country. He built a primary school and dormitories for the girls below the hill, and dormitories for the boys a little higher. The foundation also hosts a grammar school for children of poor families in externship and a training centre. We have not met Brother Charles who had waited for us about two hours. We were late according to the schedule he had set with our guide, because he had commitment elsewhere. But we were officially welcomed by the senior staff of the Centre. The Director took us on a tour of the premises. The Centre hosts about a hundred children from a few months old to the age of primary school, boarding.
Ecological farming: millet field
The foundation is particularly sensitive to the environment, hence the name of “Foyer Ecogique” (Ecological Home) for it’s orphanage. In its activities it is concerned to promote innovations for environmental and sustainable development. Thus it provides financial autonomy by production activities such as bios cultures involved in the development of the Titanyen area were it is located. But there is still much to do and it needs support. That was the purpose of our visit.

After the tour of the premises, the director gathered all the children in a large living
space to meet and officially receive the gifts we brought. May I mention that part of these donations comes from a school in Strasbourg which is
Notre Dame De Sion Institution that had already participated in various humanitarian projects in a Sahelian village in northern Cameroon with Mission “Maéva Source of Living Water” including a well in the Grammar School of Doreissou village and provided the same school with benches. We want to give thanks to the management of ND Sion and its Pastoral Council.

Children gathered in the large living space that serves as a meeting room, game space and various activities, as well as a dining room for meals and snacks. I fell somewhat ashamed to have brought only a small suitcase of new clothes and shoes and an envelope with a few euros when I realised the immensity of the needs of the home. But what a surprise when we saw the joy of the children and the management team when they found the new clothes and shoes we brought. Then the Director asked one of her colleague to bring the clothes reserve of the orphanage. What was our astonishment to see what we brought were three to four times the total orphanage reserves. We then handed the envelope with euros to the
Director and the children sang us some songs. The girls of our team took then opportunity to “mother” the smallest, which has as effect to make our separation a little more difficult.

After a time spent with children and their
leaders, we had to leave and join our camp base. We experimented with the words of Jesus when He said “It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20: 35

What we experienced brought us to the following thoughts: if with so little we have done so successfully, how much would it have been efficient if all the millions that had been pledged to Haiti after the earthquake actually reached the country to meet the needs of this land?