During the month of October, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Maywood, NJ, collected school supplies and books for our mission here in Haiti. The whole parish was involved in the project. On December 3, we received notification that the pallet of over 30 boxes had arrived in Port au Prince. The next day, we thought we were going to pick up the donated boxes. This was only the beginning of a long process. We went to the place to which the email directed us, to the terminal where it had been delivered. We learned that first we needed to go to Seaboard Marine Ltd., which is on the other side of the city. We are so grateful for Fritz, our driver! We had to pick up the paperwork, and then we needed to go to the bank for a certified check to pay for the paperwork. Next we were sent back across the city to bring the papers to a “broker,” (these are men and women who deal with customs). After we met with the “broker,” he could not begin the process because the pallet had been sent to the Felician Sisters, Attention: Sr. Marilyn Minter. We do not have legal status in Haiti, only as individual persons; my license name is Minter, Marilyn M. After many phone calls to New Jersey to the coordinator of the pallet, we could get the name changed on the paperwork. This took two days. After all that, we came home without anything. We believed that this would take at least a week. We experienced a real time of Advent waiting.
Every other day we would call the “broker” and write him emails (in Creole), always being told tomorrow or next week; and so we waited. We worried that the waiting time meant that we would be paying more taxes for the boxes sitting in the terminal. We wanted the boxes for Christmas in order to distribute the items to the poor. We were afraid that the taxes would be more than what the parish had sent to us. Finally on Tuesday, January 14, we received notice of the amount that was needed to be pay for taxes. We were in shock at the amount of tax we had to pay with certified check. We were taxed $13 USD. We thought we were reading the paper wrong because it was in gourds. The certified check had to be sent to Port au Prince that day so we could pick up the boxes the following day.
On Wednesday, January 15, we went to Port au Prince and got all the boxes. We brought them here to Jacmel, and our boys helped us unload the truck. The next day we got ready to distribute the school supplies. We thank Fr. Larry Fama, Pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish; Bill Cromwell, coordinator; and all the people who gave to our mission here in Jacmel. We are so grateful to all of you! We also thank the New York Yankees baseball team for the backpacks. Mesi, mesi anpil. Bondye beni ou.