Making Sketchbooks

Fostering thinking requires making thinking visible.

Thinking happens mostly in our heads, invisible to others and even to ourselves. Effective thinkers make their thinking visible, meaning they externalize their thoughts through speaking, writing, drawing, or some other method. They can then direct and improve those thoughts. Visible Thinking also emphasizes documenting thinking for later reflection. – Ron Ritchhart and David Perkins Educational Leadership Feb2008

For the past three years we’ve been making sketchbooks in my 5/6 art classes, not just because we are makers, but because making them ourselves helps to create greater investment in their use. In prior years, students had been asked to purchase sketchbooks as part of their school supplies. They would purchase 9 x 12 sketchbooks and bring them to class. Of course I purchased some for those who couldn’t/didn’t buy them. This worked well when students remembered to bring them to class, which they didn’t always, and sometimes they lost them for good. That was pretty frustrating. One year I repurposed paper boxes and kept them as storage bins for sketchbooks for each of my nine classes. That kept them in the classroom – no longer lost or forgotten. However, those nine boxes took up a lot of space, and my students weren’t hugely invested in filling them.

In 2015, I attended a Project Zero Classroom workshop for a week in the summer. You can read my reflection on that experience here. I found myself inspired and consumed by thoughts on learning both in content and instruction, especially in comparison to what I was seeing in my school and reading about from educators across the country. I realized I was teaching in a way that guided kids through projects, which although deep in layers of content, were more project/product based than process-based. At the end of the week at Project Zero, my cohort group were assigned the summative task to come up with a headline that captured each of our take aways, or going forward goals. Throughout the week, my international group had gently teased me about my Boston speech mannerisms (I can’t help it!) which were captured in my headline:

As I prepared for back-to-school throughout the rest of the summer, I focused on Slowing Down The Learning by developing deep and rich projects that allowed for a focus on process, whether creative, collaborative, or communicative. This is when sketchbooks became very important in my classroom.

Here is Bridget M to give a tour of her sketchbook:

Prior to teaching, I had a twenty year career in the printing industry. I well knew the process of making books, I just had to simplify it enough to ensure success for all of my students. I settled on a 16 page saddle-stitch book which would end up at 7.5″ x 11″, and fit well in the locker bins which were being discarded at school.

Here is how to make the books:

And this is the paper I order for the text:

In my school most electives teachers get all new classes in January for the start of term three, consequently all of my new classes just finished making sketchbooks. Each time we make sketchbooks, I try out a new process for the cover artwork, including Collage, ZoneDoodles (my version of zentangle), Compass Shape Watercolor, Paper Circuits, Blown, Splatter, and Drip Painting, and Mandalas.



Compass Shape Watercolor

Paper Circuits

Blown (straw), Splatter, Drip Painting


To see more student Mandalas that were created on their sketchbooks and to see how we made them, visit this post: https://monalisaliveshere.me/2018/03/08/mandalas/






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Making Mandalas

Compasses, protractors, and rulers…oh my!

Mandalas: Where art and math collide.

As shared in the last post about Sketchbooks, this term we created Mandalas on the covers of our newly made sketchbooks. We used protractors, compasses, rulers, pencils, and markers.

Protractors, Compasses, Rulers

Here is a short video showing how to make them:

Once the Mandalas were underway in my classroom, I showed students this video of Tibetan monks constructing and deconstructing a mandala. This provided a wonderful opportunity to talk about impermanence and to bring in cultural considerations.

I am frankly blown away by the artwork created by my fifth and sixth grade students! Here are many examples (I couldn’t stop!) and you can see all of them on Artsonia here:







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GameMakers PBL Unit With 3D Printing

“I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.” – Steven Wright

Two summers ago I put together the GameMakers unit to engage sixth grade art students while utilizing cooperative learning, project based learning, 3D printing, Google Classroom, and Google Sites. We piloted it in the fall of 2016, with great success. I published a post about it then, which can be read here.

Throughout the past year I’ve presented at technology in education conferences about the unit but hadn’t written a post about it until now. And even now, I’m simply providing three links, because through them you can pretty much get the whole picture.

The first link is to the GameMakers Slide Show on OneDrive: https://1drv.ms/p/s!AsOt-MDtGlZthzAXGgLxnNJEuq03

The second is a 24:23 minute video where I share the how-to’s and the structure of the GameMakers unit: https://youtu.be/9veVCpCdzlI

The third is another video, this one is only 13 minutes long and within it I share seven of the GameMakers games and their 3D printed game pieces that have been developed through the unit: https://youtu.be/kBZjggLDc-4

Feel free to reach out with questions about any aspect of the project and know I’d love to see where you go with it with your own students!

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The Haiti Posts: A Directory

Dlo pa janbe trou./Water does not cross over holes. It must first fill the hole, before it can move on. – Haitian Proverb

Here is a directory of the six posts I’ve shared about the recent trip to Haiti by our small delegation of travelers from the St. Gabriel the Archangel parish:

The first is a reflection on past trips to prepare for this recent trip: https://monalisaliveshere.me/2018/01/25/i-dont-always-wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve-but-when-i-do-its-in-haiti/
The next, post 1/5, is an overview of the recent trip and it can be found here: https://monalisaliveshere.me/2018/02/05/st-gabriel-trip-to-haiti-2018-one-five
Post 3/5 is about the clinic at St. Anne, and it can be found here: https://monalisaliveshere.me/2018/02/07/a-stone-in-the-sun-st-gabriel-trip-to-haiti-2018-three-five/
Post 4/5 is about the St. Anne church and chapels and it can be found here: https://monalisaliveshere.me/2018/02/12/lets-enter-in-his-sacred-house-st-gabriel-trip-to-haiti-2018-four-five/
Lastly, the final post 5/5 is about the moments in between, and it can be found here: https://monalisaliveshere.me/2018/02/20/pale-angle-not-yet-st-gabriel-trip-to-haiti-2018-five-five/
Another post – this the St. Gabriel Haiti Ministry Report to the Parish on the Twinning Relationship with St. Anne Parish: https://monalisaliveshere.me/2018/05/06/haiti-ministry-report-to-parish-5-6-2018/
Please feel free to share these posts with anyone you think may be interested. I hope you enjoy them and find them useful in learning more about our twin parish and our contributions there, as well as the experience of our trip. Please feel free to reach out with questions or your own stories. Mèsi!
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Pale Anglè? Not Yet!: St. Gabriel Trip to Haiti 2018 Five/Five

Pale Anglè? Not yet!/Speak English? Not yet!

This is the fifth and final post from my recent trip to Haiti with a small delegation from St. Gabriel the Archangel. The first post was an introduction, which can be found here. This is my third trip to Haiti, having traveled there in 2007 and 2009. A post about those trips can be found here. The second post in this five part series is about the school at St. Anne and it can be found here. The third post is about the St. Anne clinic, and that can be found here. The fourth post is about St. Anne church and the seven chapels the parish supports and it can be found here. This final post is intended to share about the moments on the trip when we were not in church, school, or the clinic, rather its focus is on places we visited, moments while traveling to those places, and the times in between.


On the way to our twin parish from the airport, we four women of our delegation squeezed into the back seat of the pick up truck because the bed was full of luggage. Having been to Haiti before, I knew that once the luggage was unloaded, future travel would find us in the truck bed. Haitians utilize every bit of space in a vehicle, sometimes carrying as many as twelve people in the bed of a truck or a few passengers on the roof of a van or standing on the bumper holding on to the racks on top.

Three of us in the truck photo at the top of this post are grandmothers. Grandmothers who once made sure to follow regulations to install car seats for our children and then watched as they carefully chose certified car seats for each stage of growth for their own children. In Haiti, as in many developing countries, there are no laws about this. Acknowledging culture shock, we shook our heads in disbelief as we watched a motor scooter pass with a man driving, a woman seated behind him facing backwards clutching a soft-sided baby carrier, presumably with a baby inside. We also marveled at motor scooters with as many as five people on board, including one on the lap of the driver:

Five on a scooter

Tap Tap with person on top

Riders on the bumper

Admittedly not the safest way to travel, we preferred travel in the truck bed anyway for its access to many and beautiful sights and the cooling of the wind in the Haitian heat. Père Didier drove fast when possible and although we couldn’t see where we were going, we knew by the sudden stops that we had reached a speed bump on the edge of a village, or through a quick toot of the horn and sudden acceleration that we were about to pass another vehicle.

On Friday, after our time at the school, the clinic, and LaHatte chapel, we drove to Les Cayes to pick up a few things.

Our Lady of Assumption cathedral in Les Cayes, mother church of the Les Cayes diocese under the pastoral responsibility for Cardinal Chibly Langlois

Père Didier picking up a few things

Seated in the truck bed, it was easy to get decent photos of all we were taking in. I had asked Santa to bring me a new camera for this trip and he delivered. I wanted something that had an automatic feature plus some manual settings, it had to be very small, and able to capture video, too. You may be wondering why I didn’t just use a cell phone. In fact, I kept my iPhone for communication, but ALSO used an old iPhone 6 to capture both photos and videos. The problem is that in the heat of Haiti, batteries drain quickly AND there is no promise of electricity for charging them. The camera I chose has a rechargeable battery and I also bought an extra rechargeable battery. It all worked out – when one device died, I always had another to use.  This is the camera I chose and I recommend it for all of the reasons above. Plus, it comes in purple! I would often hold it in the air and take random shots to capture the scenic view. It worked out great.

Verienne asked Père Didier to pull over to buy grilled corn from a woman cooking it on the side of the road:

We also stopped along the return trip for mangoes and to pick up gasoline for the generator.

The gas station security guard was happy to pose for this photo

While Verienne and Dany hopped into the truck cab for the ride back, Christine and I stayed in the back and decided to keep the gas container in its corner with our feet

At one point as the sun began to set, we heard the horn of a passing vehicle and then quickly pulled over. We wondered what was going on when our group in the truck-cab got out of the vehicle. Next we knew, the former pastor of our twin parish came around to the back of the truck with a big, welcoming smile. It was a delight to see Père Doussous again! It seems he had passed us and when he did, Père Didier recognized him and waved at him to stop.

Père Doussous, Père Didier, Father Larry

As we pulled away from our brief but wonderful roadside visit, in repositioning myself in the back of the truck I realized my dress was wet with gasoline. Christine realized she was wet with it, too. We rode home extra vigilant about holding the gas container in place, although we knew it was leaking beyond our control. When we arrived back to the rectory we changed out of our clothes, rinsed them, and hung them outside to air out.


The next morning, while the rest of the delegation was visiting Bellevue chapel, I asked for something with which to wash out the gasoline drenched clothing and was given both a liquid soap and a disinfectant. I scrubbed the two dresses and hung them outside on the veranda to dry in the sun, moving them every hour or so as the sun moved across the building. My goal was to get the smell of gasoline to fade enough that I could put the clothing in my suitcase to bring home without causing problems in customs. Both Chris and I were worried about giving them to the house staff to clean because we didn’t want to cause a problem for them. As mentioned before, Haiti has a trash problem and we didn’t want to “throw them away” because they would sit around a while before being burned. We also didn’t want to make a display of our privilege by simply discarding them. All of it was a big concern for us. The good news is that the strong smell of the disinfectant masked the smell of gasoline and we were able to do as we had planned – bring the clothing home in plastic bags in our suitcases and dispose of them there. While the group was gone that morning, I sat out on the veranda and listened to the sounds of the church yard while sketching.  A group of men were building something and I could hear their chatter, laughter, and hammers from my spot. In the kitchen courtyard below I could hear the sounds of pots and pans and the sounds of giggles and singing from a little girl whose mother was washing laundry and hanging it to dry. In a sweet and thoughtful gesture, one of the cooks brought me a pot of coffee and quietly left it on the table. I thought she was setting up for lunch and didn’t realize for a little while that she had brought it for me to enjoy. I was able to thank her later. The colored pencil sketch above is of the church from the veranda. The watercolor sketch below is of the view toward the school from the veranda, with the old church roof and cinder block towers in the lower left.


Lunch after the uphill trek

Goats head soup (is this where the Rolling Stones album got its name?)

When the group returned home from their uphill trek to Bellevue, they were thirsty, tired, and hungry; we had lunch. Most meals in the parish consisted of water (only sealed bottles or water from the Culligan big bottles poured in a pitcher), fruit -including mango, papaya, plantains, pineapple, rice and beans, soup or stew, and sometimes meat or fish in a sauce. One day there were freshly cut coconuts from which we drank delicious coconut milk. We always had the option of Haitian Kasav bread (made from flour ground from manioc root) with peanut butter on top and often took advantage of this. Sometimes there were bon-bons, which is Creole for cookie. In the morning we had strong Haitian coffee, and at night sometimes sitwonad (limeade), or a Prestige (made in Haiti). On the road once or twice we were treated to a nice cold Coca Cola. On our last night at the parish, the cook made dessert, a sweet potato pudding called Pain Patate. The cook and her staff at the parish worked very hard to feed us, and for that we are grateful.

Haitian Kasav bread


On Saturday night after all of our meetings, we drove to Aquin for the feast of Thomas Aquinas at the church there. The church was packed to the hilt with parishioners and on the altar sat over twenty priests. We got there late (seats had been saved for us) during the homily and we were still at mass for two hours.

Not even a third of the priests on the altar


Scouts in Haiti

After mass, as everyone spilled from the church, Père Didier led us to the rectory where a big feast of food was laid out on the dining room table. He made sure we each had something on a plate (plantains for me) and led us upstairs to the porch where tables had been set up. You could hear music and festivities on the ground below. At one point I went to the railing to see what was happening and was greeted by the young men in the photo below.

I asked them tentatively, “Pale Anglé?” (Speak English?) To which one of them quickly replied, “Not yet!” I loved that response! For anyone in education reading this, it is a great example of a perfect growth mindset response.


There is really nothing so universally relaxing as a day at the beach, right? On Sunday in Haiti, after three hours or so dressed up and in church, people relax as much as they can while still going about the importance business of life and sustenance. For instance, there are no carpentry projects in the churchyard and the main meal is just a bit more special. Père Didier wanted to take us some place to relax and unwind and as Haiti is surrounded by water, the beach was a welcomed suggestion. And so we began our excursion to the island of Île-à-Vache (Cow Island).


To get to Île-à-Vache we would take a boat out of Les Cayes. When we arrived at the docks, no boats were moored there and we waited while Père Didier made calls and checked in with some people there.

When the boat arrived it was not what we had expected.

But we took a giant leap of faith and boarded anyway. And just kept smiling.

Photo credit: Christine

What a ride. It took 40 minutes to travel the seven miles to the island. The wind was strong and the waves were high. And we were in a flat-bottomed wooden relic of a boat with one 40hp engine.  This was the first time I ever feared for my life in Haiti.

There is no Coast Guard in Haiti. There was no radio communication. We were four miles out with just two guys and their cell phones to make a mayday call. And we all know what happens when cellphones take on water.

By the grace of God, we made it to the island and put the return trip out of mind as we took in the beauty of Île-à-Vache at the Port Morgan resort.

We walked down the steps to the beach and it was indeed beautiful and peaceful, as promised.

Père Didier had a nice swim and before too long, Christine and I joined him (in our clothes).

After a meal, a swim, good conversation, and relaxation, we began the return trip:

Les Cayes coastline from the water

And made it back safely! The step from the boat to the dock was at least a good two feet. Suddenly about six men appeared and hoisted us, one by one, out of the boat. I remember reaching up my hands and next I knew I was on the dock. Just like that. It wasn’t until the next day I felt bruising on my left arm from the hands that gripped tightly to lift me.


I found it particularly difficult to sleep in Haiti. I don’t remember that from past trips. It was hot in the room, at least 95℉, and humid. Coming from a particularly frigid few weeks in New England, the heat was a big adjustment, more so at night, where I slept without covers in a snow-angel-making position. Mosquitos buzzed only occasionally. I remembered a lot of mosquitos in past trips, this time there were few. We had brought mosquito nets and we took the Malaria drugs, but there was no need for them. As you’ve probably heard in the videos in this series of postings, the roosters crow whether day or night. There seemed to be one on each side of the house, echoing crows all night long. Needless to say, when I returned home I was exhausted and also dehydrated even though I drank water as often as possible.


We let the roosters awake us at 4:00 in the morning on Monday as to have enough time to finish packing and have suitcases at the front door by 4:45. Père Didier borrowed a vehicle with six seats so we could make the four hour trip more comfortably. All of the suitcases were secured under a tarp on the roof. When we set off at 5:00am, it was still dark outside. Along the way, we were able to watch as Haiti woke up and started the day. Children walked or rode on scooters to school in their uniforms, vendors carried their wares to the sidewalk and set up shop.

As we got closer to the city, structures were more densely packed together, the streets were busier, and the trash piles grew larger.

Foraging pig

Haitian made furniture for sale

Hillside homes

Both times I had been to Haiti before this trip, we took a small plane out of a different airport in Port-au-Prince to Les Cayes, so I had only seen about a mile or so of the city, and my last trip was six months before the earthquake of 2010 that demolished the city. I was glad to be on the ground in a vehicle to take it all in.

We got to the Toussaint Louverture airport, named after the leader of the Haitian Revolution, after many hours on the road  and dense traffic in Port-au-Prince.

With help from some porters, we checked our bags and made our way to the security area.

After a lot of milling around and not knowing where to go, we filled out departure forms. No pens were supplied and I used a black marker I happened to have with me. The markings didn’t transfer.

We cleared security and went to the gate area, sitting at a cafe for sandwiches. We shopped at a little tchotchke shop and eventually went to the gate. Little did we know there would be another security check. At this one, they took my boarding pass away and ushered me to a private room for a random security check, which I had a difficult time understanding due to the language difference. I was separated from and could no longer see my group, my luggage, or my boarding pass. I was unnerved. In the private room, a young woman simply ran a wipe over my hands and pronounced us “fini”. I replied, “Mademoiselle, mon cœur!” and made heart pounding motions like you see in the cartoons.

Finally, we boarded and had an uneventful flight to JFK airport in New York. On arrival, I promptly failed the automated passport to photo facial recognition check and earned a big X on my receipt. Way to go.

All that means is that you have to present yourself (your face) to a human to be compared with your passport. But what it really means is one more long line before you can go to customs. We cleared that without incident and boarded the plane for Boston, where we arrived at 8:30pm. Needless to say, I was incredibly happy to be home.

Home with deep appreciation for hot showers, my own bed, brushing my teeth without using bottled water, fresh fruit and vegetables (especially lettuce), cell service and wifi, and solid sleep. With a stroke of luck, the day after my return was decreed a snow day, giving me an extra day to recharge. Although on the next day – my return to the classroom, I couldn’t help making constant comparisons between methods of instruction at home and in Haiti, and the multitude of resources, electronic and otherwise, that we have here compared to the simplicity of the classrooms there. At home, I consciously waited until the following Sunday to enter a grocery store. Almost a full week after returning home, the comparison in consumption between our countries was great and overwhelming.

Lastly, in driving my car to work in subsequent days, I was grateful for the cold weather. Had it been hot and humid I would have been missing those carefree moments of riding around in the open air in the back of a truck.

Photo by Père Didier

Mèsi, Ayiti. Bondye beni w!


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Let’s Enter In His Sacred House: St. Gabriel Trip To Haiti 2018 Four/Five

Vini rankontrew Granmèt la. An Antre nan kay sakre li a. Adore Bondye ki plen pouwa./Come and meet the Lord. Let’s enter in His sacred house. Adore the powerful Lord. Clap and rejoice in His presence.

This is the fourth post from my recent trip to Haiti with a small delegation from St. Gabriel the Archangel. The first post was an introduction, which can be found here. This is my third trip to Haiti, having traveled there in 2007 and 2009. A post about those trips can be found here. The second post in this five part series is about the school at St. Anne and it can be found here. The third post is about the St. Anne clinic, and that can be found here. This post is about St. Anne church and the seven chapels the parish supports.

St. Anne Church

St. Anne Parish encompasses the main church (above) as well as seven chapels in the surrounding villages. On Friday afternoon of our visit we went to visit one of them.

Chapel LaHatte

LaHatte Chapel

It took about twenty minutes to drive there on the unpaved roads. Once there we parked and walked up an incline to the chapel and school building.

View from the chapel down the incline

Chapel with school behind

Verienne, Pére Didier, Dany, Chris, and Father Larry waiting for the chapel director

When the chapel director arrived, he unlocked the door and we went inside the chapel. 

The LaHatte chapel regularly withstands violent hurricanes with its concrete walls and windows, The corrugated metal roof and framing has had to be replaced over the years. Usually we fund expenses like this as a special project  with either a dedicated collection or through payments made as installments.

Although very simple, the chapels in Haiti reflect the intention to revere and display the glory of God. There are some beautiful light-filled moments in this humble space.

The school at LaHatte is not open at this time. One of the goals with which our delegation arrived home is to open the school so more children can be educated. Two teachers must be hired in order to do so.

The view from LaHatte chapel is beautiful.

With my camera, I zoomed in on a hill behind the school and could see cows grazing high up on the hillside.


Later that same night after a trip to Les Cayes, we attended an Adoration at the St. Anne church. Although the generator was running and the lights were on, they were no match for the nighttime darkness, hence my images and videos are dimly lit.

Jesus with no hands

Pére Didier led the congregation in song after song and there was much dancing.

The focal point was when Pére Didier walked around the church to display the monstrance holding a consecrated host for veneration.

The adoration went on for over two hours. Throughout its entirety, parishioners old and young danced and sang.

After a long, full day, we slept and found ourselves back in church for the 7:00am Mass. I didn’t take any pictures because, in all honesty, I was barely awake and happy to have made it to Mass at all. I simply soaked it in and let it awaken my spirit.

Chapel Bellevue

Friday night as we gathered for a light supper, Pére Didier expressed an interest in visiting the Bellevue chapel. With a big smile on his face he told us it would be one hour all the way up hill by foot on a rough trail to visit. We all thought he was joking, but soon realized he was completely serious.

Pére Didier’s big smile

Having recovered from bronchitis and asthma problems just in time to take the trip to Haiti, coupled with the 90º degree heat, I decided not to tempt fate and to stay at the rectory that morning. I took advantage of the time to wash some clothing that gasoline had spilled on the day before (that story in the next post). I can relay the adventure of Bellevue as told to me by the others, and I’m using Chris’s pictures here – thanks Chris!

Bellevue chapel was begun a little while back. All the concrete bricks and mortar must be carried up the steep slope, which may be passable by a mule, definitely not a vehicle. The materials are usually carried on heads or backs. The chapel is about 2/3 built, and the people are tired. Indeed it is a long, steep climb to the chapel.

The St. Gabriel delegation was followed to the top by some of the Bellevue residents, including the chapel director (above), and some men who helped the group along the way. Here are a couple of photos that show some of the objects on the way up.

Burial tombs

This rock looks like a breaching whale to me

Children flocked to the visitors, some carrying water, others playing with toys handmade with hoops and sticks (similar to toys from colonial America).

At the top of the climb, the group convened in the partial chapel where coconut milk and water were shared with them.

The others that went to Bellevue told of the uphill climb that ended up taking an hour and a half. The downhill climb is treacherous with many rocks and uneven surfaces. They also mentioned that currently students are making the trek daily to attend school at St. Anne. The chapel director at Bellevue would like to finish construction of the chapel so it can be used as a school during the week to help these children and more attend school without the difficulty of the climb. This is another goal our delegation returned home with.

Chapel Directors

On Saturday afternoon we met with the St. Anne chapel directors. The seven chapels are LaHatte, Bellevue, Parraseux, Corail, Loufranc, Terre Neuve, and Mercier. Five of the seven chapel directors were able to meet with us. They all began with praise for Pére Didier and then told of the state of their chapel and families.

Verienne was kept busy as translator. We are very happy to be establishing a brand new chapel, Terre Neuve (New Earth), which will be directed by a woman. We were all very happy about this.

I recognized our newest chapel director as one of the dancers at St. Anne nine years ago.

Some of the concerns brought up by the chapel directors include missing roofs due to hurricanes at two of the chapels, there are currently no schools open at any of the chapels, disputed land ownership, lack of a building altogether, and foundation leveling.

The Chapel Directors, including St. Anne’s first woman chapel director.

Parish Council

After our meeting with chapel directors, we met with the St. Anne parish council. The council is responsible for the day to day operations of the parish. They, too, began with praise for Pére Didier and all he is accomplishing. He is a good communicator and community organizer, and seems to never tire. Prayer opportunities have increased in the the parish, and they are bringing people back to the parish.

The council has long expressed a desire to transform the old church, which remains in disrepair in the middle of the parish yard, to a cultural center where meetings, concerts, and celebration can be held. The space is smaller than the big church and would be more economical to use for the stated occasions than the big church.

The old church in disrepair in the middle of the parish yard

The St. Anne Parish Council

Sunday Mass at St. Anne

Sunday mass at St. Anne is a big, joyous deal. The music is electric and loud, everyone is dressed up, and there is dancing. Father Larry concelebrated with Pére Didier.

Verienne translating Father Larry’s homily

One of the children was celebrating her birthday and got up to address the congregation:

After Mass Chris and I handed out some conversations hearts I had brought along.

We have done this before, once with friendship bracelets made by my students and the CCD students at St. Gabriel in 2007, and once with rosary beads made by a woman for our trip in 2009. As many as we bring, as much as we think we have it covered, there is never enough. The need is so great, it diminishes all of our confidence and shakes our faith for a moment. There are just so many hands.

My final post on the Haiti trip is upcoming and will feature our experiences and travels around Haiti, at the parish, in Les Cayes, and on Ile-a-Vache. Stay tuned…




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A Stone In The Sun: St. Gabriel Trip To Haiti 2018 Three/Five

Wòch nan dlo pa konn doulè wòch nan soley./The stone in the water does not know the pain of the stone in the sun. – Haitian Proverb

This is the third post from my recent trip to Haiti with a small delegation from St. Gabriel the Archangel. The first post was an introduction, which can be found here. This is my third trip to Haiti, having traveled there in 2007 and 2009. A post about those trips can be found here. The second post in this five part series is about the school at St. Anne and it can be found here. This post is about the St. Anne clinic, which is across the street from the church.

The St. Anne Clinic street sign from a clinic window

As we enter the clinic

Clinic waiting room

During the weeks before we left for our trip on January 25, we had placed boxes in the vestibule at St. Gabriel to collect medical supply donations. The Haiti ministry committee met a couple of nights ahead of the trip to pack the donations in suitcases. The donations filled four extra large suitcases.

Of course when we got to the airport, we realized three of them were overweight, so we had to remove items and place them in a fold up suitcase someone had brought for this purpose. Eventually, we redistributed everything and they were all under 50 pounds, ready for flight. We had some concerns about customs in Haiti, but they all made it through with contents in tact as we left the airport in Port-au-Prince.

Chris pulling a bag of medical supplies across the parish yard to the clinic across the street

After spending Friday morning touring the school, we brought the bags across the street to the clinic and opened them on the floor of the director’s office.

Once opened, we worked with the clinic director to sort the items by type: bandages, analgesics, ointments, etc. in corners on the floor.

Once sorted, we carried them by the armload to the storage closet and the director and Dany put them away by type:

Dany takes a break to wave

After everything was put away, we had lots of soap and toothbrushes left, so we put them in brown lunch bags and distributed them to the people in the waiting room of the clinic.

With these “tasks” completed, Pére Didier and the clinic director gave us a tour of the small facility.

The doctor in her office/examining room

Records room

Records room

Nurse at work

Intake room – blood pressure, temperature readings

Refrigeration for vaccines and meds that must be kept cold

Medical records

Phones charging



Waiting area

The clinic sees about fifty people each day, whether for initial treatment or follow up. There are small apartments where the doctor, nurse, and director stay on the premises. Recently they have opened one of the apartments up to create a recovery area. They hope to add more beds. This could be a project St. Gabriel might explore – salvaging hospital beds and shipping them to Haiti.

Recovery area

Water filtration system

From its location across the street from the church and school, the view of the surrounding area encompasses street traffic and the mountains.

Following the afternoon at the clinic, we went for a ride to Les Cayes, a trip I’ll write about in the final posting in this five part series. Upon our return from Les Cayes later that night, we attended an Adoration with Pére Didier in the church. You can read about that in my next post about the church and chapels. Stay tuned…

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