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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Finding the Face of God in Haiti
Paola Treviño, Mission Youth National Director, reports back from her first mission trip to Haiti.

Haiti children
Two of the orphans at the Kay Mari Manman Tout Timoun orphanage.

May 10, 2010. This past April 26th to May 2nd, Mission Youth National Director Paola Treviño traveled to Haiti to pre-organize the first upcoming Mission Youth humanitarian missions in the country, which is still reeling from the devastation of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck near Port-au-Prince on January 12.

The following testimony gives us a glimpse into her experiences working alongside the volunteers based out of the Kay Mari Manman Tout Timoun orphanage.


On April 26th I was landing in Haiti, not knowing what to expect. All I knew was that someone would pick us up at the airport and take us to an orphanage in Danbann Village four hours away towards the mountains. Our ride arrived: a huge white truck they call a “tick-tack,” like an open-air bus with grills to protect you from falling. The journey began…

As soon as you leave the airport, the “tent cities” appear. The International Relief teams built thousands of them up the hills and down close by the ocean, even in the center lane of the single highway that crosses Port-au-Prince. As you go along, the road looks like a parking lot full of cars, motorcycles, “tick-tacks,” trucks, and people. On
wreckage in Haiti
Rubble and destroyed streets still mark Haiti's capital city.
either side you see destroyed buildings and houses and rubble all over the place. The ashes of the victims’ burned bodies overflow from the broken buildings, trash covers the river, and the people have built the market place right on top of a huge dumping ground. Thousands of Haitians walk around looking for something to sell or buy. The ride continues, and at the outskirts of Port-au-Prince the tent cities are huddled up in little hills or in the lower areas of muddy jungle, with destruction and rubble everywhere you look. We still have two hours to go…

Finally, we leave the city and enter the countryside - beautiful valleys and mountains, tall green palm trees and mango trees, abundant vegetation. The truck navigates a rough trail up a mountain, and the ride feels like a constant full-speed rollercoaster for two hours. After crossing three rivers, we finally reach the orphanage. All the little kids, some refugees, and the staff of the orphanage are waiting for us with a warm welcome. I feel at home.

I thought that when I left the city everything was going to be great and beautiful, but God had other plans. He was going to show
hut boy haiti
A little boy runs naked outside a small home.
me a different way of suffering; He was going to show me His Son Jesus Christ on the cross.

The days passed by, and I got to know the kids and their stories while also visiting some of the villagers. I encountered a lot of suffering, and it made me feel so little and so powerless to do anything. The only thing I could do and felt I must do was PRAY AND SACRIFICE but at times it was so hard not to get impatient, angry, or discouraged before so much misery.

We visited a family with nine children. Abandoned by the father, they lived in one tiny room, and all the kids were running around naked, their bellies swollen with malnutrition. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

We went to see an old lady, Angelee, probably 90 years old. She was lying on a mat in a tiny hut eating dirt; her mouth was like a rock. We carried her outside and gave her water and peanut butter crackers, while the people around were making fun of her for eating dirt. I had to go back to the mission center in silence just praying to God because I didn’t
Paola and lady
Paola Treviño helps an elderly woman to drink some water.
know what else to do. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

The day in Dandee Village started at 3:30 am with the rooster call, the donkey neighing, the bongos of the “Budus” and the “sweet screams” of the children by 4:30 am.

The orphanage, Kay Mari Manman Tout Timoun (The House of Mary, Mother of All Children), opened its doors in December, but it is still in the “concrete stage.” A few chairs for the staff, one table too tall for the kids to reach, no beds, no dining room, no closets…

Lunch time arrived at 11:30 am and the kids were served their food— abundant food I would say— prepared with a lot of love by the cooks. All of the kids, from the two-year-old to the fifteen-year-old, ate on the floor outside, in a corner. I couldn’t take it. On day two of my visit, I went out looking for some concrete blocks left by the construction workers and found a piece of wood. Now we had a table! The kids were all excited, and at the next meal all of them were sitting around it. That table served as dining room, craft table, and much more.

Haiti volunteer
A volunteer at the orphanage plays with the children.
the afternoon we played games and did some improvised crafts with the kids. The purpose of my trip was to scout the place and set up for the missionary groups in the summer, so Emma (the coworker who accompanied me) and I were not prepared to "take charge” at all, but God had different plans. The kids have lived through so much and seen so much suffering that all of them have a huge need of love, so as soon as they started coloring or whatever they were doing, they would come and tag us, looking for attention and recognition.

After dinner time, 4:30 pm (yes, earlier than in the US) we had bath time! So the march began to the river where the kids not only had a bath but a ball as well.

The afternoon continued with more games and songs… The cleanliness lasted no more than 5 minutes; what can we expect if they have to play outside, where there are all sorts of construction materials, rocks, and sand…? God willing, that will end soon.

Finally the day comes to an end at 8:30 pm with night prayers, Haitian style. After an hour of songs and worship, the kids start
haiti kiddies
Lunch time at the orphanage.
falling asleep one after the other. The older ones keep up with their singing and the staff members start carrying the kids to their rooms and laying them down in cots on the floor. That also, God willing, will end soon.

My God my God why have you abandoned me? Meditating on those words of Christ, I came to the conclusion that all of these people are living the white martyrdom for us. Yes, for us, for you and me, so that our hearts will soften, so that we will learn to use our freedom correctly and put it at the service of others, so we will work to foster charity and justice, so that we will put our values in order, so that we will live facing eternity, so that we will be Christ’s feet and tongue to bring His message of hope and love to all the world and by doing so, fulfill His commandment: “Go out to the whole world and preach the Good News.”

After our visit, Mission Youth will be able to help in a concrete way with the following projects, thanks to generous donors and missionaries:

  • A house for Deede and her 9 kids
  • Beds and shelves for the kids
  • Proper table and chairs for the kids’ dining room and play room
  • Paint and decorate the kids play room
  • Playground

All of these projects will be done during the month of June with a total of 25 missionaries.

Do you want to join us? Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Pray and sacrifice: Offer daily one sacrifice and a Hail Mary, Our Father, and a Glory Be for those in need.
  • Collect goods for the orphanage: kids’ clothes, school supplies, didactic and educational games
  • Send money to buy food baskets for the villagers surrounding the orphanage
  • Send money for houses: $5,000 per house with two rooms and a small front porch
  • Sponsor a missionary for a week: $800 airfare included

Donations to sponsor Mission Youth missionaries to Haiti can be sent at this link. If you would like to donate to the orphanage directly, click here.

For ongoing updates about the work of the volunteers at the orphanage, visit the Mission Haiti web site at or become a fan on Facebook at



Related links

Official web site of the Vatican.
Legionaries of Christ
For Your Vocation
Mater Ecclesaie College

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