Missionaries also take part in reconstruction

“Haiti is slowly getting up. There are new commercial buildings on either side of the street leading to the airport. But in the most hidden areas, or in the central square of ‘Champ de Mars’, there are several tents, a number of camps and many people forced to live in precarious conditions, waiting for housing solutions that seem complex and complicated”. Thus spoke to MISNA, from Port-au-Prince, the capital that was devastated two years ago by a powerful earthquake, Father Pierre Le Beller, of the Society of the Fathers of St. James (St. Jacques), a French congregation from the region of Bretagne, which has a long history of missionary activity in Haiti.

“The local press seems to give ample space to welcome new companies talking a lot about entrepreneurship, policies for employment. I hope this is not just an ad that will remain in a drawer”, confides the missionary, who, after a period of six years spent in France, returned to Haiti to support the fellow brothers, who are still affected those long seconds of shock, which put the country on its knees. “One of our fathers still lives in a tent; the restoration of my old parish, St. Anthony, is proceeding. There is a growing difficulties for Haitians: prices are still rising but wages remain unchanged.”

The missionary’s outlook on the situation, two years after the earthquake, is mixed: “On the one hand – he said to MISNA – I admire the strength of the people who bear a burden apparently without end, on the other hand, there is impatience with the incomprehensible slowness and confusion in the aid for reconstruction.”

The Society of ’St Jacques’ Fathers, after the earthquake, received numerous donations from friends and faithful, for a total of 1.3 million Euros. “We were able to spend only half, the rest is in the bank: the absence of a plan or clear guidance from the authorities prevent us from building. We can not build with the risk that one day the government tells us that we were not allowed to do so. We’re frustrated,” said to the French newspaper ‘Le Telegramme’ Father Michel Menard, one of Father Le Beller’s fellow brothers. “But the men did not remain with idle – he added – where the land had a clear ownership, or when it had been recently acquired, there, we have been able to build thirty homes. Schools and facilities for students have been funded. Two churches have been renovated, along with two multi-purpose classrooms and university campus ministry headquarters, which is home to many young people.” Thanks to the network of missionaries in the poorer neighborhoods, some of the victims of the earthquake have been able to receive practical help and emotional support.