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Communiqué #115

Communiqué #115


to the PEOPLE of HAITI

May 17, 2015

H O N O R E D     W O M A N

Honored in 2013 Mother's Day Celebration!

Honored in 2013 Mother’s Day Celebration!

Today, at the age of 105, the eldest woman of this small village on the island of Île-à-Vache passed from this life to the next. It was just two years ago that we had honored her as being the oldest mother of the community at our first-ever Mother’s Day Celebration. In a country where the average life expectancy is about 50 years of age, this is indeed a woman who lived a long life.

Today as I was standing in the backyard of the orphanage, I noticed a gathering of men constructing something with cement block. When I asked one of the boys of the orphanage what they were building, I was told that an elderly neighbor lady had passed away this morning and they were building her above ground tomb.

Activity in the neighbor's yard

Activity in the neighbor’s yard

I spent the afternoon with the orphanage boys, but at the same time I kept an eye on what was transpiring in the yard of the neighbors. Several men were mixing mortar, cutting rebar, placing forms and laying blocks for the final resting place of one of their own.

Final resting place!

Final resting place!

Before returning to the guesthouse where I am staying, I asked someone to escort me to the yard where the tomb was taking shape. A multitude of neighbors were stopping by the gravesite and also at the home where the body remained to pay respect to the family.   For a fleeting moment, I felt a part of the community … not the out-of-place “blanc” in the crowd. Babies, toddlers, youth and grownups all mingled in the yard around the men who were making work of completing their task before dark. The tomb must be finished and the concrete dry for the early morning burial of the next day. In later years, this same tomb will house other family member’s of the deceased matriarch.

I cherish the times when I can get a true glimpse of what life in Haiti is like as if I am invisible and not intruding on a private moment. Today I received one of those glimpses!

Rest in Peace Honored Woman!

Nora Léon                   

Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic      Until next time, God willing …………

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