By Cedric Heurtelou
Last Spring Break, students at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School went on a missionary school trip to in Hinche, Haiti. Sarah Orleans, the President of the Haiti Club and World History II teacher, spoke about her experiences on the trip.
Although Ms. Orleans travels the world often, this was her first time going to Haiti. She travelled with 23 other members of the club — students and parent chaperones — including Emily Mislan, the Theology 3 teacher. The group stayed at the Maison Fortune, an all-boys orphanage in Hinche built for people heavily affected by the 2010 earthquake. The boys’ ages ranged from 4-20 years old. Although the orphanage was initially designed as temporary housing for boys who were affected by the earthquake, providing them with food, donated clothing, school, and religious education; it has evolved into a permanent residence for most of the boys.
“You have to be flexible and bring an open heart,” Ms. Orleans said to anyone who is considering going on this year’s Haiti trip.
Ms. Orleans also felt the one-day visit to the children’s hospital in Azeal was an amazing experience. She said she had a soft spot for each and every one of the children. Some of her favorite moments were feeding the babies and playing with them.
Ms. Orleans learned so much from this trip and was amazed by the incredible faith of the citizens of Haiti, from the buildings which had religious prayers to taxis that had been decorated with religious paintings.
Did she learn anything new through this experience?
“So much stuff…I’ve always had a deep appreciation for Haitian history. It was really an honor to be able to help, and bring students to have a missionary opportunity with the children,” said Ms.Orleans.
With a new diocesan rule from Richmond taking effect on school travel outside the US, the upcoming trip to Haiti is not promising. If the rule is not put into effect, the trip will be set for sometime in February rather than spring break. If the Haiti Club members are unable to go at all this year, Ms.Orleans wants to find another way to donate and help the Haitian population.