(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 13 January 2016)
(Mr. D) Let us remember we are in the Holy presence of g-d.
(Mr. D) Good morning. It is hard to believe, but it has been over six years since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti. As we mark the passage of time this week and silently, or openly, express gratitude for all the good we have in our lives, let us solemnly remember the almost 300,000 Haitian lives lost as a result of the earthquake. Let us also extend our thoughts and prayers to our Haitian brothers and sisters here at La Salle and in Rhode Island who have been directly hurt by this tragedy.
(Marc) I grew up in small village in the north of Haiti called Cap Haitien. It wasn’t a busy town, but it wasn’t boring either. The houses were decent and we had a lot of family living close together. We lived a pretty good life, but we decided to immigrate to the United States when I was younger. When I went back to visit this summer, I felt strange about how some parts of Haiti were just like I remember when I was a kid before the earthquake and other parts were totally ruined. In a weird way, it felt like places here that have people living in poverty next to people who are doing ok.
(Marc) It’s important to know what is happening to Haiti because people are living in terrible houses with no access to running water, hot water, or toilets. I visited a place in Haiti, and the people were lucky because they did have land, but the house was so small and ruined with no doors. It’s easy for us not to think about this because we’ve never really experienced that or seen what it’s like. It’s weird for me too because I grew up in a middle class home just like many students here.
(Marc) I know that the media only talks about negative things and the destruction from the earthquake, and it was absolutely horrible. But I want to tell you that we are not a totally depressed people walking around defeated. Haitians are a proud people. We really value education. We spend a lot of time in community with family and friends.
(Mr. D) Three years ago I had the privilege of being part of a Lasallian delegation that traveled to Haiti to witness the opening of our new Lasallian school in Port-au-Prince. Traveling around the city, what struck me the most was not the destruction from the quake and its aftermath, but the vitality, optimism, and joyfulness of everyday Haitians in the face of such chaos and danger. Amazingly, six years later, almost 90% of all Haitian children are in school receiving an education. One of those places is our school, College of St. John Baptist de La Salle.
(Mr. D) Each and everyone of us, in fact, students, faculty, administration, and parents from all of our Lasallian schools in the District of Eastern North America should feel proud of the school we have helped to build in Port-au-Prince. Besides contributing to the design and construction of two solid 9.8 hurricane resistant buildings that house the Brothers and our grammar school, a women’s health center was recently finished that is run by local nuns and provides essential family health care and education to women who live in the neighboring tent slums.
(Marc) This Friday, we will once again have the opportunity to contribute to these projects with a Dress Down Day to raise funds that will directly pay for more students to attend the College of St. John Baptist de La Salle school in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. For this, I am grateful.
(Marc) Let us pray,
Dear G-d, as we take a moment of silence and stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti, we thank you so much for all the love and support we have in our lives and for reminding us that in difficult times we are never alone.
(Mr. D) St. John Baptist De La Salle: Pray for us,
Live Jesus in our hearts: forever
Gregg DeMaria (Director of Academic Resource Center) and Marc Louis (Sophomore)