Unification News For March 1996
World CARP Students Serve Haitian Academy
by Howard Self-Charlotte, NC
World CARP, under the direction of Jin Hun Nim, is fast gaining a reputation as the number one student service organization. All of the World CARP teams across the nation are working on numerous service projects ranging from tutoring children to food and clothing distribution. The World CARP Academy's first class received many awards, newspaper articles and other recognition for its service projects last year. The most exciting project to date however, involved 18 World CARP members, led by Marcus Von Euw, helping to construct a school building and tutoring students in Haiti at The Haitian Academy.
Soon after the January national World CARP Conference in Boulder, CO, the CARP volunteers left for the very warm island of Haiti. There, they could exchange the wind burns from the Rockies' ski slopes for the sunburns of the Haitian shores. What a life these CARP members lead! They didn't get their tans by lying on the beach however; but from many hours of strenuous construction work in the hot sun.
Haiti is a nation that has the potential to be a tropical paradise, but instead has been devastated by corrupt regimes in the past. Its industry, agriculture, road system and infrastructure, and its education system are all in disarray. For example, every day when night falls, the electricity across the island goes off! The only street lights in the capital city of Port Au Prince are those around the National Palace. Consequently, high school and university students gather there in large numbers because it is the only place where they have enough light to read their books! The illiteracy rate is above 70% for the nation. The streets in the city look and smell like open sewers. Garbage is often piled high. It is difficult to plan anything because there is never a clear idea of how long a journey will take on the totally clogged roads. The most heart wrenching experience however is to walk in the streets of Port Au Prince and to have beautiful tiny little boys and girls - preschool ages of 3 to 5-begging for hand outs. They beg by taking hold of your little finger and walking alongside you. They appear to be completely on their own in the world and their imploring little eyes bore deep into your soul.
Into this desperate scene stepped Madame Marie Rene, the Founder and President of The Haitian Academy. Together with her husband and father (who is a renowned Christian minister), they have been building for over 8 years what has become a beacon of hope for the people of Haiti. The Academy is being built literally brick by brick and....young life by young life. The original school was started in the U.S. and then about 3 years ago, the Renes began transferring their foundation to Haiti. Recently, Madame Rene went to France and recruited 6 French professors to come and teach at the Academy. One French Blessed Brother, Didier, and one UTS brother, Simon, are also teachers. There are classes for the smallest children on up through high school. The building the CARP members helped construct is for the new university classes that will be starting very soon. The majority of the students are young teenagers who are of Haitian parents and who were living in the U.S. Most of them were beginning to get into some type of trouble i.e. drug trafficking or crime, and their parents sent them to The Haitian Academy as a last resort to straighten out their lives and to get them onto the right track.
As you can imagine, these are not easy students to teach and to deal with. However, the entire Haitian Academy is operated under a philosophy of true Christian love and mutual positive regard. A number of times, Madame Rene could be heard chastising individual students for calling another student a disparaging name. Because she operates from a base of selfless love, even the most recalcitrant student's heart soon opens to her.
The standard kept by the CARP members was very high and sacrificial. They rose at 5:30am, having slept on newly constructed concrete floors. After a worship service at 6:00, they had breakfast-usually a piece of bread with margarine and coffee. Most of the volunteers lost substantial weight during the 30 days. Each work day began with the CARP members gathering in a circle with a like number of construction workers (all Christians hired by Madame Rene) and singing several hymns. First, the CARP members sang a Holy Song, then the Haitian workers would sing a hymn in their native French. Then a prayer would be offered and the grueling work could begin. The white chalky sand used in the construction had to be sifted by hand. The piles of sand looked almost identical to the piles of white fertilizer that True Father had to work with in Hung Nam Prison. Several members reported that they had experienced deep insights into Father's course through their work in these conditions. Construction work would go until 1:00pm when a humble lunch would be served. Then in the afternoon, the members tutored the students until dinner. After dinner would usually be a DP lecture that some Haitian students regularly joined.
Madame Rene has had many discussions with John Gehring of Religious Youth Service and Kathy Winings of IRFF. In fact, the World CARP team was preceded at the Haitian Academy by the RYS Service Project. Through Kathy's efforts, World CARP could connect with Madame Rene and carry out the month long effort. In addition, a number of 2nd Generation Blessed Children are planning to do a third service project at the Haitian Academy during their upcoming Spring break.
On February 9, we held a closing banquet. Sure enough our dinner, scheduled to start at 6:00pm, actually was finally served at 9:00pm! In Haiti, any event planning is always followed by the phrase, "If God wants it". So, if something doesn't happen on time (which is the norm) then it automatically means that God didn't want it to happen at that time. At first this continuous state of affairs seems humorous and somehow charming, but after a few efforts, it proves to be mostly frustrating. On this night however, the high spirits of everyone involved prevented any negativity from flourishing.
In attendance at the banquet were the former National Minister of Education, Dr. Charles Romain, several teachers from a nearby Christian school, the faculty, CARP members, and some of the students, as well as the leader of the hired workers. Dr. Romain has attended a couple of conferences with True Father and is genuinely impressed with our movement. He happily stayed for the entire program and discussed many topics with World CARP Academy President, Howard Self and Madame Rene. The keynote address was given by Howard Self . In his address, Howard stated that Rev. Moon, the Founder of CARP, always lived by the Biblical teaching that you should not just wish well to a hungry or unclothed person but that you should actually feed or provide clothing for them. The CARP members are simply following his tradition of serving and seeking actual solutions to mankind's problems.
During the banquet and afterwards, around a closing campfire, many of the students shared their testimonies of how much they had been affected by the CARP members. Tears flowed freely as they realized that the time of departure was close at hand. The CARP members had been the true elder brothers and sisters that so many of the students had desperately needed at this crucial juncture in their lives. It was obvious that they will never be forgotten.
Madame Rene is fighting a great battle to establish the Academy against all odds and obstacles. She has many plans for how to fund raise for the cause. For example, she went all over the island taking orders for rice, which has recently risen greatly in price in Haiti. She hopes to import an entire shipload from Vietnam to then sell at a quick profit.
Her greatest need right now is for an assistant, or a dedicated couple who can help in the administration of all the different aspects of the Academy. She has been greatly impressed by the Blessed Couples that she has met. If anyone feels called to this mission of serving in a land of great need, please call her in Haiti at (011-509) 46-29-42.
World CARP will continue to expand its service projects. Planning is now under way for the second class of the World CARP Academy to hold one of its summer service projects in the Atlanta area. This will coincide with the national drive to bring students from all over the nation for the World CARP March, Rally and Concert for Pure Love in July during the Atlanta Olympics. Un Jin Nim, wife of Jin Hun Nim and mother of 2 daughters, will also compete there as the only Korean in the Equestrian Competition of the 1996 Olympics.
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