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Haiti - Social : A cruise not like the others
22/02/2012 12:59:17

Haiti - Social : A cruise not like the others
Thierry Mayard-Paul, the Minister of the Interior accompanied by several members of his cabinet, was in Alabama last Friday to meet hundreds of representatives of over 60 churches in the United States, met in a retreat organized by the Praisefest Ministries.

These ministries organizes every year "Cruise with a Cause," a series of Mission Cruises transporting volunteer workers to various places that are in need of support. Praisefest Ministries is looking into taking their experience to Haiti via a 4,000 person Cruise with a Cause in 2013. The passengers on this cruise pas comme les autres would participate in projects that include building homes, repairing schools, and installing new water purification systems throughout Port-au-Prince.

The Minister of the Interior has welcomed this initiative which combines tourism and volunteerism. Speaking to representatives of over 60 churches in the United States, Thierry Mayard-Paul declared "Greetings to all of you from the people of Haiti who send you their blessings ! It is a privilege to be here [...] surrounded by so many people who have concern for others, who want to give, who are ready to travel to my country, thousands of miles away, to lend a helping hand [...]

How many of you have been to Haiti before ? If any of you have visited my country, you know that Haiti is big, one of the biggest nations in the Caribbean. It is a beautiful land, filled with beautiful people, and with energy and creativity everywhere. Haiti is full of colors, art, singing, smiling faces and open arms for our visitors.

Yes, we are still recovering... rebuilding... putting our people back into housing... and back to work. And we want you, we need you to be part of that process.

You see, Haiti is at a turning point as a nation. We are trying to build a nation with equal opportunities for everyone [...] so people in all parts of Haiti will have access to jobs [...] Our government is working to create jobs for people away from the capital of Port-au-Prince, a city that was almost completely devastated by the earthquake [of January 2010] [...] jobs in Haiti's rural communities, her agricultural centers, and small towns [...] To bring hope back to our people !

Since January 2010, there have been many agencies, many non-governmental organizations coming in. They do their work, and then they leave. What you are doing is more powerful... it is People to People, and what you bring to Haiti will endure. You may know the Proverb that says, "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for life", this is what each and every person here can do [...] We want to bring real change to Haiti, and give her beautiful, hard-working people the future they deserve.

When you sail into Port-au-Prince, my friends, you will be making history. Yours will be the first cruise ship to visit our capital in a quarter of a century. This will be a milestone to remember. Let me thank you now for breathing new life into our tourism sector.

And if any of you need just one more reason to get involved, wait until you see our children... bright eyes... happy faces... full of expectation. You will see in their eyes the good that you can accomplish by coming to Haiti/by this mission [...]"

"The goal here is to get these organizations to adopt the communities they serve in. They will continue to resource and help develop these communities in the years ahead", stated Dr. Matthew Dunaway of Praisefest Cruise with a Cause evoking the potential of return to Haiti in future cruises and visits.

Dr. Dunaway recognizes the potential tourism has in Haiti's economic development, is a key to this plan's success in a country naturally endowed with paradisiacal beaches and a people renowned for their hospitality, "We will continue to bring these efforts to Haiti setting the stage for tourism in the future to bring income."

For her part Elizabeth Landers, Member of Cabinet, Ministry of the Interior, Territorial Collectivities, and National Defense and Executive Coordinator, Presidential Advisory Council for Economic Growth and Investment declared "[...] I would like to invite you to consider your journey to Haiti, a journey into the unknown for many of you. You may not know exactly why you feel compelled to make this journey… And that is ok. I would ask you to only trust in your conviction and follow your heart. What is waiting for each of you in Haiti will be different and unique.

For some of you, you will discover the luscious beauty of the island and perhaps catch glimpses of nature that your eyes have never beheld.

For others, you may come to discover presence, presence of being and living in the here-and-now as perhaps you have never experienced before.

In your encounters with the Haitian people, you will encounter yourself. You will see through the reflection of another's eyes - yourself - as perhaps you have never seen before.

The Opportunity that awaits you is clear: Your Journey to Haiti will be an opportunity for you to put your faith into action..."

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