Three Generations Called To Serve Haiti Missions
Jacob Hirsch, an eighth-grader at Holy Rosary School in Evansville, fulfilled a lifelong dream with the help of his grandparents, George and Diane Moll. The 13-year-old traveled to Carrefour de Perre, Haiti, with a group of seven volunteers to assist in an annual mission trip. Joined by his aunt and cousin, Sarah and Sam Wassmer, Hirsch spent six days traveling throughout Haiti.
Although communication was difficult as the people of the country speak mostly French or Creole, Hirsch found other ways to spread the message of God. “I went out and did work, trying to show that God was in me,” Hirsch said. “It felt very different.”
The language barrier didn’t stop Hirsch from visiting with students from the local school. He found that playing games like Jenga with the students was a good ice-breaker despite the language barrier. Students in preschool through sixth grade attend the local grade school in Carrefour. A few students go on to what Americans call high school, and less than one percent attend University.
A sponsorship program funded by parishioners at Corpus Christi Parish in Evansville, St. Joseph Parish in Vanderburgh County, St. Philip Parish in Posey County and St. Boniface Parish in Evansville helps many of the Haitian students attain higher education. Currently, 35 students are being sponsored at the University level.
Rachel Hirsch, Jacob’s mother and the Moll’s daughter, participates in the sponsorship program with her husband, Greg. They have been sponsoring a young girl named Rose for five years. Rose is 13 and in eighth grade, the same as Jacob.
“Every time a group goes (to Haiti) they typically interview the students, so you get to see what they’re interested in,” Rachel said. “Every time on our interview sheet, (Rose) said, ’I want to meet my sponsor family.’ Jacob got to meet her and she can put a face to this other family thousands of miles away.”
During their time in Haiti, the group participated in several culminating activities of ongoing projects.
“We’re working with two different communities,” Diane Moll explained. “One is Carrefour de Perre, which is a very small rural town. The other is a small city called Plaine du Nord. In Plaine du Nord, my husband and a few other people have tried to develop microfinance businesses. One of the businesses was to take a group of ladies who were already formed and give them a loan so they could start a chicken farm.
“Once a year when we go down, usually in the fall, the children at St. Joseph, Corpus Christi and St. Philip have raised money as a Lenten project to help fund every child getting a chicken in Plaine du Nord. We take the money down there; (the women) have the chickens, and they give them to the children. Then they make an interest-free payment on the loan, so it keeps going until they get the loan is paid off and it’s their farm.”
Jacob and his cousin, Sam, had the experience of helping to hand out 1,000 chickens to every child and teacher in the local schools. This provides each family with a constant food source as the chickens provide eggs.
The group had the opportunity to celebrate with a very special group during this trip. The Molls were invited to attend the first graduation of 36 students for the two-year program of the sewing school in Carrefour de Perre, which was started by Diane.
“This was an amazing thing to see and be invited to be a part of, and to have Jacob, Sam and Sarah there; to see how this impacts and helps families - it was great,” said Diane.
“Everyone has different levels of how they want to help,” Rachel Hirsch said. ”My parents have been going back to the same place two to three times a year for the last 19 years because they’re trying to break the cycle of poverty or at least give them a fighting chance. It’s been important that we model that to our kids.
“Jacob wanted to go. He said on his own, ‘I want to go to Haiti with my grandparents.’ I know it’s because that’s what has been modeled; we go to Haiti, we help out. The other boys are right in line.”
Jacob’s brothers William, Nicholas and Lucas are ready for their turns to travel with their grandparents, and this pleases the Molls. “There will be a point when I’m 105, I might not be able to do all these things,” Diane said. “It’s just so heartwarming to see the passion that both boys attacked this trip with, and they were ready to do whatever was needed.”
Jacob said he cannot wait to go back, despite the sometimes-tough conditions, “because I know I would help other kids, experience a different lifestyle in one of the poorest countries of the world and make it through a week with very little wifi.”