Over spring break, I had the amazing opportunity to be the student leader for a mission trip to Virginia and Maryland. In Arlington, VA, we stayed at Our Lady Queen of Peace parish (OLQP). This parish is unique in the sense that they strive to provide inclusiveness within different cultures in the community. They host many types of masses, include the Spanish mass, since there is a large Hispanic population in the Arlington area. Another unique aspect to this parish is the twin parish they have in Haiti. Our Lady Queen of Peace helps fund the church in Haiti. The funding goes towards medical supplies, daily meals, and education for the children in the community. Many children walk hours on strenuous, unpaved trails just to receive an education.
Every year, OLQP will take a team of individuals to the twin parish to help out with basic medical or sanitation needs. The woman in charge of the program (who is an ophthalmologist) talked to me after her presentation about their efforts to support the small community in Haiti. I told her I had an interest in going abroad for a medical mission trip. She gave me her information and told me once I graduate to email her about joining her team for a few weeks in Haiti. Most of the medical problems in the area have to do with sanitation problems, which lead to diseases that could have been easily preventable if they had the resources. Little by little, OLQP is successfully educating the community about hygiene practices and preventing the spread of diseases. Although it may not seem like it, these small teachings can make a huge different on a global health scale. The conditions are poor where the twin parish resides, yet much better than most places in Haiti, thanks to the support of the OLQP community and their commitment to aiding the Haiti parish. As a future nurse, I applaud the Our Lady Queen of Peace for their efforts in helping the community in Haiti become a more educated and healthier community.
Photos of the Haiti school and church. Photos taken from the OLQP. Haiti facebook page.