Z is for Solidarity by Kim Snyder
( Field Operations Coordinator for ServeHAITI)
We chose Zoranje for the Rosary Project this summer as this is a very poor area of Grand-Bois, one without schools, access to fresh water, let alone jobs or steady income. Some say it is the mid-point between Port-Au-Prince and the clinic. You can see the poverty as you pass through the small village, yet feel the spirit of the people as you arrive.
At 6 am we loaded up the vehicle with the rosary supplies, groceries for a spaghetti lunch and a determination to make 1000 rosaries, while spreading a little love and hope for the day.
Forty-eight people were chosen by Maccéne Augustin and Luc Preserve to participate in the project. Long term volunteer Ellie Argo, first-timer Anna Fleming and myself had the distinct pleasure of working (and playing) alongside some pretty amazing men, women and children from Zoranje as they strung beads, tied knots and told us their stories.
After a beautiful prayer led by Brother Maccéne and with pen in hand, Alfred Gilbert assisted me in speaking with a few of the rosary makers to understand the impact the 20$ will have on their families.
Our first conversation was with Monclaisse Pierre, who thanked ServeHAITI and the Military Rosary Project and said for us to keep up the good work. He rightly told us, he wanted to invest the money in goats or chickens, because the money will multiply.
Mr. Ileus Dleurilus, who has lived in the community his whole life was thrilled to be selected for the project. When I asked him how many years, he said he didn’t know. Which means, he didn’t know his date of birth and perhaps never ever celebrated a birthday. My best guess was early 70’s. His $20 will go to school tuition for his son, the last of 8 children with his wife of many years! He had always worked in the sun, planting. I learned that a farmer is prosperous and a planter is not, at least not consistently. We hope this 20 dollars will change that for this sweet man. We loved how he waited for approval on his knots from Luc before moving forward.
One 22 year old really captured Ellie’s heart. They are the same age, but that is where the commonalities stopped. When I asked Ms. Magalie Maceus what her dreams were, she said it was to purchase a goat. Both her parents had passed away. She lived with her brother in their family hut and walked 5 hours on market day to sell beans at LaTwazon. She only completed 5th grade education and dreamed to purchase animals. We hope that 20 dollars will help her reach that dream.
The children were curious and wanted to watch the rosary project, yet Anna had a different idea. she polished nails, led the children in song of ABC’s and had them bursting in fits of laughter while doing cartwheels on the lawn of the Zoranje Church.
Magistrate Darius Soneilda joined us to visit her hometown and prepare a spaghetti lunch from the kitchen of her childhood home. She shared with me that Zoranje is considered one of the most impoverished areas in Grand Bois and she is motivated to represent as an advocate of the people.
We spoke of solidarity and ServeHAITI working to improve the lives of the people in Grand-Bois. She was immensely grateful for the Holy Land Military Rosary Project coming to her home town and to her people. She served each person participating in the project as well as their children their spaghetti and wished them to eat with joy and appetite.
If anyone doubts the the Holy Land Military project can make a difference, you need to witness the joy and hope that was alive on this day.
Posted in News by Kathleen Quinn
10th February 2016
The Rosary Project
Our rosary makers share their stories of what it means to work with The Holy Land Military Rosary Project and ServeHAITI to produce the rosaries sent to our troops around the world.
As we gather on the terrace of the clinic, we watch Maccéne expertly train new team members on the process. Burning the ends of the strips, actually made of Parachute cord, threading the beads and ensuring a perfectly made rosary. The completed rosary brings a smile to the face of each trainee as they anxiously waited to begin.
We asked the rosary makers what it means to participate in this project. Each one shares a big smile to say they are so proud to work on the rosaries. They know well their friends in Iowa organize this project and make it possible for them to have steady work in the community.
They focus intently on counting and threading the beads, ensuring alignment of each bead on the parachute cord to make every rosary perfect. Maccéne has strict quality control and doesn’t hesitate to have the makers begin again if the rosary does not meet his high standards.
Earning $20 USD in Grand-Bois is a blessing for each maker. It means they can continue working, providing their family with food and clothing. Ms. Medor is grateful for the opportunity to make enough money to purchase 5 mamets ( about 10 cups) of bean seeds for planting this season. Ms. Elena will use her $20 USD to add to her savings to start a sewing business in Cornillon. Some will purchase rice to feed their families. Everyone has plans for how to spend their pay.
As we completed the interviews, more rosary makers joined us on the terrace. The air was buzzing with chatter and laughter, as they compare each rosary to make sure they receive Maccéne’s approval before they move onto the next one. After all, they are representing ServeHAITI whom they are very proud to have in the region and they know the rosaries will soon be in the hands of our soldiers around the world.
Posted in News by Kathleen Quinn