Franciscan Sister Serves as Translator on Haiti Mission Trip

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

December 08, 2018

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Marlita Henseler is serving as a translator for a Diocese of Green Bay Mission Trip to Haiti. We share an account by one of the pilgrims on the journey and photos.

Day One

Well, we arrived at Pedro Santana last night about 9 pm after a long travel day and some exciting traffic getting out of Santo Domingo. The group consists of Jim Fitzgerald, Sister Marlita, Debbie Knox, Kathy Allen, Ken Deteville and me, Ed West.

Sister Maria and Sister Lidia were waiting for us and had prepared a wonderful dinner for us.

We are about to leave so this is short.

Day Two

Today was a learning day with Sister Maria. After breakfast, we drove to Los Cacaos, Haiti to see the pump that is being used to supply water to the fish farm.

The pump was fashioned from an old engine with a pump attached to one side of the shaft and pulleys on the other side. They were having issues keeping it primed. Maybe we will work on that another day. On the way to Los Cacaos, we stopped at a high point on the International Highway and took some pictures of the green trees on the Haitian side. Those trees have been planted since Sister Maria started work in the area and the area is slowly turning green and as a result, cooler (a relative term).


We then drove to the Ag Center. The 12,000 gallon cistern that we worked on in January is now complete and the second floor is being completed on a multi function building behind the classroom facility.

On my January trip, I had heard a story about Sister Maria borrowing a D8 Caterpillar from the Dominican Republic government and using it to build roads in Haiti. What I didn’t realize that the roads she built opened up the whole Los Cacaos region to commerce. Prior to her road building, the only way to get around the area was on foot or motorcycle.

A side note, I am using the Spanish spelling “Los Cacaos”, but I understand that the Haitian Creole spelling is “Los Kakaos.

All around the area, and now at the Ag Center in Los Cacaos, a bean called Guandul is being grown. It can be grown in the very poor soil and hot weather conditions. It is called the “bean from Congo” locally and is a source of protein. The Guandul beans grown at the Ag Center are a lot larger than the ones grown around the area due to the irrigation and attention to nutrients etc. Also being grown at the Ag Center are tropical sweet potatoes that provide a lot of nutrients for the local folks…

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