Our week was sobering, and, at times, overwhelming. Yet it was also rewarding and one filled with hope.
Imagine, if you can, living in a place where the only thing you and your family have had to eat that day is salt boiled in water.
Imagine... you are a father who cannot find work or bring a promising future to your family.
Imagine... you are a mother whose children do not go to school, have no shoes, play in mounds of untreated garbage and receive no health care.
Imagine... you are a child who cannot go to school, but instead roam the unsanitary streets in despair.
Imagine... that your life expectancy is 40 years of age.
Imagine... you and your family have leprosy - yes, leprosy, and that you cannot afford to have it treated.
Imagine... one of every two newborn children dying shortly after birth.
Imagine... overwhelming hopelessness day after day. There is no need to imagine any of these things because they are present-day Haiti.
Yet also imagine smiling orphans, dedicated clergy and laypeople, the bright faces of families with new homes, electricity and sanitation. In short, imagine hope. This, too, is present-day Haiti. Some of that hope was made possible by each of you in the form of housing for the poorest of the poor. While we as a parish have made things better, there is much, much more that needs to be done in Haiti and elsewhere. And we need to take up that challenge - as members of Nativity Parish and members of the human race. Not to do so, would be to turn our backs on the poorest of our brothers and sisters, those whom Jesus loved so dearly.
NOTE: Robert Jasinski returned from his pilgrimage to Haiti and wrote a book, Going Home (Rutledge Books, Inc., Danbury, CT. 2001). All proceeds from this book are donated to parish charities of Church of the Nativity, Burke, Virginia. Copies may be ordered from Rutledge Books..