Due to a sudden illness, UUA President Rev. Peter Morales will not be joining the UUA-UUSC contingent in Haiti. Instead, the Rev. Eric Cherry, the UUA’s international resources director, has posted this message from Haiti.
There is a palpable feeling of blessing and gratitude among the service learners who have gathered together for the UUA-UUSC joint JustWorks trip to Haiti. We arrived in Haiti’s Central Plateau on Tuesday after a long day of travel from many parts of the U.S. and began our shared journey with a meal, a time of spiritual focus, and introductions.
The 10 Unitarian Universalist seminarians on the trip are from five theological schools, bringing incredibly varied skills and experiences with them. Very shortly after arriving, it became clear that they were ready to get “down to business,” not only taking care of each other and engaging in service work, but beginning the theological reflection work that is integral to our experiential learning model.
Our day of service included reaming ground on an eco-village project that will ultimately provide 40 Haitian refugee families with an environmentally sustainable home and field for farming. We spent the day with Haitian workers laying the foundations for two of these homes, singing, learning work songs and hymns, and forming relationships.
After the workday was over, the seminarians were joined by nine institutional partners also taking part in the service trip. Representing the UUSC were Bill Schulz, Brock Leach, and John Gibbons. From the UUA were Gini Courter, Dea Brayden, and myself, along with Ned Wight of the UU Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, Lee Barker of Meadville Lombard Theological School, and Thomas Smith of Starr King School for the Ministry.
The gathered community thus became a unique body of organizational representatives as well as seminarians, all with a stake in the experiential learning model being provided. UUA President Peter Morales intended to participate as well, but was unable to join the trip due to illness.
In the evening, two seminarians presented theological reflection pieces to the gathered community, demonstrating the deeply spiritual nature of the experience, as well as the learning that is taking place. Awe bookended the day in faith, and we look forward to the opportunities tomorrow will bring.