SOLT Mission Water Project

This video is a short talk by Fr. Glenn Meaux about the history of the water project built by the mission.

Fed from an underground spring, the project supplies clean fresh water to 9 water stations throughout the area.

Since it’s inception, deaths by malaria and other water borne diseases have decreased substantially.

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SOLT Mission School

This short video will give you some insight into the school at the SOLT Mission.

Each day, the students gather at the front of the school for morning prayers and the singing of the Haitian national anthem.

As the students head off to one of the outdoor classrooms, the students pick up a small breakfast, a pancake or a bag of peanuts for example.

Lunch is provided later in the day. A bowl of rice or beans and “stinky” fish.

These might be the only meals the students receive all day, the family unable to provide more.

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Driving Through Hinche & A Walk in the Country

This is another short video from our trip to Haiti. The first part of the video is taken from cell phone video shot through the window of our car as we drove through the town of Hinche.

I think it gives an interesting snapshot of life in Hinche and the work that they people do to try an maintain their lives. As you watch it, see if you can pick up all the different ways that people transport themselves and their goods.

The last part of the video is our group walking through the desolate and stark countryside outside the SOLT Mission in Kobonal.

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Mission Food Distribution Program

SOLT Mission Food Distribution Program

 

Here’s another short video that I shot at the SOLT Haiti Mission in March 2011.  It shows the weekly food distribution program where area “destitute” families come for a month’s supply of food.  The mission has limited resources, but it does have the means to give corn, beans, soap, and cooking oil to needy families.

I’m sure the amounts given are not enough for a whole month, but it helps and the people are grateful for what they receive.

This is a powerful statement on the needs in Haiti and how we should be thankful for the blessings we receive.

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Flying MAF to Hinche


One of the rather fun aspects of our trip to the Kobonal Mission was traveling from Port-au-Prince to Hinche by air.

The MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) flying service serves the Hinche “airport” and did a masterful service getting us there quickly and professionally.  They seem to be a fine organization, serving in many remote areas of the world.

They have a very interesting history.  Learn more about them at http://www.maf.org/home.

I really enjoyed the two times that we flew with them.  A bit cramped with 6 people in the plane, but it gave us a bird’s-eye view of Haiti that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.  Also, after getting a look at the road we would have taken, this was definitely the preferred way of travel!

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Mission House Building Project

This is a short little video about the SOLT Mission House Building Program. We took a tour of one of the houses under construction and saw firsthand this project in action.

What an important program this is!  As I recall, over 130 homes have been built over the years with each one greatly improving the lives of its inhabitants.   Replacing mud and stick shacks with dirt floors, these concrete and block homes provide much needed shelter from the wind and storms and protection of diseases, like tuberculosis, which live in the soil.

Such simple houses but such a critical need fulfilled for the people of Haiti.  I hope someday I can return to the mission and help build one of these!

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A Day at the Mission

A Day at the Mission

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been editing some of the video that I took in Haiti. This is in preparation for a presentation that our group is giving to the members of our parish.

This particular little video, hokey as it is, is a conglomeration of events that represents a “typical” day during our stay at the Kobonal Mission. It should give you a little bit of an insight in to the life of the mission and the experience we had as visitors.

Enjoy!

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New Mission Video

I shot quite a bit of video while I was at the mission, but clearly I’m not a professional and could never approach the story quite the way the following video does.

Joseph Molieri recently spent time at the mission and shot the following photos and video.  His work is truly moving and eloquently tells the same story that I would like to tell.    I’ll still post some of my own video later, but look to this for the highest quality and poignancy.

 

SOLT Haiti Mission from Joe M on Vimeo.

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Music of the Children

Have a listen to episode #117 of the OntheU podcast.  In this episode, esteban shares some of the music of the Kobonal school children.

Each school day at the mission begins with morning prayers and the singing of the Haitian national anthem.  Hear the kids own very special rendition.

As the kids head to their classrooms, they pick up a small breakfast, a pancake perhaps, and sing a song of grace called “Thank You Jesus, Thank You.”

In addition to one of the songs from Sunday Mass, esteban ends with something really special.  The most annoying sound in the world (ala the movie Dumb and Dumber!)

Enjoy!

Play
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Hinche and Missionaries of Charity

One day during our visit to the mission, we had the opportunity to go to the nearby town of Hinche.

Hinche is one of the major towns of Haiti with a population of about 50,000 people.  It is the capital of the Centre department (state) and has an important UN outpost.

Even though I’ve traveled to several impoverished or “third world” areas, I found Hinche to be an especially dire place.  Although in the photos below you will see power lines, we were told that electricity is almost non-existent.  Those that do have power rely on solar panels to provide it.  We were also told that the city has no sewage system and very little water.  In some of the photos you will see people carrying water in containers from the Artibonite River, which runs through the town.

We were there on one of the twice weekly market days, so Hinche was bustling with people going to market.  Anyone with animals or produce to sell seemed to be in town, trying to sell what they have.  I got the feeling that it was an economy very close to a barter system, but that is speculation on my part.

I can only image how treacherous the place can be at night or when there is some sort of upheaval or political strife.  In fact, when we arrived at the Hinche airstrip from Port-au-Prince, we were met by a UN security official who gave us instructions to stay out of sight during the presidential run-off election to be held that Sunday.

In the midst of Hinche, we made a visit to a facility run by Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity.  What a wonderful place!

This was my first interaction with the sisters and I was completely won over by them.  Fr. Kastl and Fr. Meaux celebrated Mass in their small chapel on the Feast of St. Joseph.  With some of their facility’s children present, we filled their chapel to overflowing.  With their singing and the general feeling of grace brought by the sisters, it was a very fine Mass indeed.

The sisters took us on a tour of their facility and we quickly learned the magnitude of what they were faced with.  Six sisters and their staff were caring for almost 300 individuals who had no one else to care for them.

Eighty children brought in from the countryside were being nursed back to health so they could eventually be returned to their parents.  Four wards of varying levels of sickness contained metal cribs for the children.  The sickest children in Ward 1 would move to Ward 2, then Ward 3, and finally Ward 4, the last stage before being returned home, hopefully well enough to be cared for by their parents and family.  This is not an orphanage as the children are always returned home.

The other parts of the facility contained men and women housing areas for elderly or other indigents who have no one else to care for them.  Fed, housed and cared for, these people depend on the sisters for their very lives.

The sisters, despite what their detractors might say, are truly a Godsend to the people of Hinche and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit them and see their work.

Below is a gallery of photos from in and around Hinche.  Out of respect for the Sisters, there are no pictures of them or their facility, lest those photos be abused.

Special thanks to Marty Killeen for some of the photos used below.

 

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