In Visits to Petit Trou, CHP Supporters Pay Tribute To History and Plan for the Future
A group of thirteen Coloradans recently spent a week in Haiti to learn about the progress that Petit Trou’s community has achieved over generations. Some of the visitors were already well-acquainted with Petit Trou; others were visiting Haiti for the first time. Many on the trip are members of the Colorado Episcopal Community, a foundational partner and force behind CHP’s work. (CHP was founded in 1989 by three Episcopal priests: Haitian Father Octave LaFontant and Coloradans Fathers Dayle Casey and Ed Morgan.)
Father Ed, one of these founders, was joined on this trip by his son Andy and granddaughter Molly, who were visiting Haiti for the first time after hearing stories for years. While visiting a sixth grade classroom at St. Paul’s school, a student asked Father Ed to visit Petit Trou more often. Father Ed demurred, explaining that travel had become more difficult for him recently, and he could only promise to do his best. As the sixth grade girl nodded in response, Andy leapt in: “If he can’t make it, I’ll come in his place!” he shouted in English, jumping forward in a warm way that required no translation.
The young student wasn’t the only one who had a powerful reaction to the significance of Father Ed’s presence. One of the Kindergarten teachers, Martine, had herself been a Kindergartener at St. Paul’s School around the time that CHP was formed. She pulled Director Wynn Walent aside later with some urgency to relay the community transformation she had witnessed over the decades :“I’m not sure if you understand,” Martine told Wynn. “This whole area was just an empty field,” she said, waving her hand towards the mountains behind us. “There was nothing here. Nothing! At that time there was no chance to build a life, no chance to go to school, no chance to go to a church. Father Ed, Father Dayle, Father Octave—they are truly fathers to Ti Twou [Petit Trou]. They are my fathers. We are a family.”
The trip also fell on a particularly special day for the Petit Trou community—St. Paul’s feast day on January 25th. Thinking through the preparations for the special church service the community celebrated that day, Linda Davidson remarked, “The whole community it seems was involved in preparations well into the night. We did feel more than welcome. [My experience there] reminded me of all we have in common.”
Pastor Alena Lamirato echoed Linda’s sentiment: “My experience in Haiti was meaningful to me, because I got to experience hope.”
A second visit from a different group of Coloradans is on the calendar for April. Jamie Kilcoyne, a CHP board member, is spearheading a 30 kilometer run in support of CHP’s campaign to raise awareness about the urgent initiative to safeguard St. Paul’s school and bring solar power to its campus. Learn more about how you can become involved with their campaign here.