In March, 2012, the All Saints Outreach Committee committed Focus Project funds by establishing a partnership with St. Cyprien parish in Haiti. In December, 2012, a check for $27,000 was sent to the Diocese of Haiti to begin construction of a new 10-room school under the guidance of Pere Alexander Soner, the Episcopal minister assigned to that parish.
On May 23 of this year members of the Outreach Committee will be traveling to our partnership school in St. Cyprien. Email correspondence in preparation for that trip has been eagerly exchanged between the parish, Pere Soner, our host, and Dr. Serena Beeks, our guide, detailing itinerary, traveler information, and all matters logistical. Beautiful, colorful and intimate photographs of children and countryside have been shared with us throughout the progression of this project. These pictures have brought us understanding of where we are going and the people we might meet. But, not until the Outreach Committee received pictures of the school under construction did the All Saints travel team began to feel the excitement of this extraordinary adventure.
The structural elements of the school are simple: a gravel base foundation supporting steel reinforced masonry of cast concrete block with cement mortar. Windows and doors are spaced openings at regular intervals. Windows look out to the countryside. Doors open onto a common walkway. Looking more closely at the pictures, we find it is the detail that fascinates.
Like the masonry, the ground is grey. Straight green trees and palms sway against a soft blue sky. St. Cyprien is mountainous and rural. The people working look young and are dressed casually. Hats are on in the sun, and off in shade. A barefoot man surveys a straight line with a rope, a stick, and a tree. In another picture are two young men caught by the camera working the cement mortar mixer. A young woman is in their company, and they all appear to be laughing.
The Outreach Committee hopes you enjoy these pictures. The travel team wants to meet these people, feel the sun and air in which they live, celebrate our shared good fortune, and return to All Saints with stories that will bring us closer together and refresh our spirit.