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Sister Margaret of Gonaïves writes gratifying and cruel reports: “In early December, schools in our area were opened. But besides the seventh and eighth grades, no one came to them. Parents were afraid to let their children go into the streets full of armed gangs and violent individuals.” It is no exception that street riots are occurring in Gonaïves. It is the second largest city in the country and people are just as dissatisfied as in the capital. In fact, they feel a lack of gasoline or food in shops, so they rebel and take justice into their own hands. “However, secondary schools are open and final half-year examinations at the end of the semester are also foreseen,” said Sister Margaret, the headmistress of St. Joseph and head of the community center of the Oblates. “Our school is still closed, but like most countries, we will try to open it again on Tuesday, January 7, 2020.”

“For this, our nutritional and orthopedic center literally bursts at the seams,” he writes in his report to the Archdiocesan Caritas Olomouc. “Every day 72 mothers with children come to the nutritional and orthopedic center. They rejoice in being together and feeling safe. Like in one of the few activities that are accessible and beneficial in times of crisis.” At the Nutrition Center, mothers receive one portion of food a day and their child either milk or half a portion of food (depending on age). Thus, in a country without a functioning social system, at least some care for its youngest citizens and their guardians is guaranteed.

The sewing center, set up by the ACHO on site in 2018 thanks to its container equipment, still benefits. “In the rookie class,” says Margaret, “we have 12 mothers who are still learning to sew on pedal machines. In the advanced class there are even 15 seamstresses who have already received their diplomas and are just waiting for a good time to find a job in a nearby textile factory. ”

And in between, the whole center, its inhabitants and visitors are preparing for the coming holidays. Christmas, holidays of peace, peace and tranquility are celebrated on this Caribbean island as well. Despite the fact that the local situation is not much better than a few weeks ago, people intend to celebrate the coming of Jesus as best as possible. They wash their linen, clean their hair, and pack up vegetables or fruit from the garden or handmade trinkets as gifts. It is not important who gets what, but that they are alive and healthy together.

On Saturday, December 14, a small party was prepared for mothers with children attending a nutritional or orthopedic center. Another Monday was followed by a social evening for the center staff. The seamstresses and their teachers celebrated the coming of Jesus two days later, when they prepared their work for others. Pupils of the seventh and eighth grades celebrated Christmas together on Thursday, December 19, and their teachers the following day. This closed the Centre’s activities for this calendar year. It will be reopened to the public at the beginning of the school year on Tuesday 7 January 2020.

We wish our partners in Haiti, all adoptive parents, friends and all good-faith people who think of Haitians and send them their prayers, peaceful and love-filled holidays.

Lada Matyášová, Archdiocesan Charity Olomouc