At long last, I want to share a bit about the first ever women and young adult summer camps that were held in the Northern region of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti.
Both camps occurred on the grounds of St. Luc Episcopal Church and School in Trou du Nord, a rural community located about 30 minutes outside of Cap Haitian. Though St. Luc does not have electricity, it does have a newly renovated and sizable school. The church has also been recently refurbished. The quality of the buildings and the spacious property made it an ideal location for the camps. There were no shower, bathroom or kitchen facilities on the premises. Ten outdoor showers were constructed, as well as a basic outside structure to serve as the kitchen. 10 portable toilets were also brought in and used for the duration of both camps. All the campers slept on inflated mattresses or college dorm style mattresses on the floor of the various classrooms. Each camper brought their own cup, plate and utensils in order to reduce garbage and ensure that each person wash their own cup, plate and cutlery. Solar run batteries were available in each “dorm” room in the evenings. Their respective panels were charged during the day. In addition, a generator ran a few hours each night to provide additional electricity and fill the water tank with essential water for the showers. LOTS of supplies and equipment were brought to St Luc to properly equip it for the camps. This even included a large gas stove! All told, a more rustic camp experience than that of the average American! It also required the work of many, many people to create and disassemble the three-week camp operation.
47 women from throughout the Region Nord participated in the women’s camp. They ranged in age from late 20’s to 80. All were thrilled about the opportunity to come together and strengthen their general knowledge of Church History and the Bible, while also sharpening their leadership skills in Church Ministry. The women even had a two-hour session on health care, for some, the first in their lives. Worship services were held three times a day. It was during evening prayer, though, when the women broke loose in full song and dance. Madame Jacques, one of the 8 cooks who provided meals for both camps, led one of my favorite dances, affectionately called the “chicken dance”. Every open space was filled with women dancing and singing!
The women look forward to having camp again next July. They have asked that it be longer and that more women attend. They are also willing to pay more to come. This is welcome news to any camp coordinator’s ears! Women are the backbone of Haiti. They have a strength and capacity that is beyond comprehension. They also have a faith that is unfailing, inspiring and ALWAYS joyful.
Young Adult Camp