You have to laugh because Ananda Leeke, the Ambassador for the Heart of Haiti program keeps talking about the “Digital Sisterhood.” While in Haiti we lunched with the sisters, but this time, it was actual Sisters at the College Marie Reine Emmaculee. We’re in Lilavois with a group called the Peace Quilters. They are making quilted items for Macys.com, potholders and small totes, as a way to provide sustainable income for these young women who would otherwise have no way to earn a living.
We arrive and Sister Rosemarie greets us and offers to give us a tour. We’re exhausted from a day driving through tent cities and visiting the ateliers of metal artisans in Croix-des-Bouquets. We’re hungry and dusty but rinse our hands at an outdoor faucet and are quickly revived by the cold stone walls and peacefulness of this enclave. Lilavois serves both as a school and center for the Peace Quilters. Groups of young women are waiting for the Fairwinds Trading team, shyly eager to show off their handiwork. Each one has a quilt in her lap of their own design. Among the design motifs, animals are popular along with vegetables and pieces of fruit with borders of vines and colorful prints. Two young women have created elaborate quilts featuring scenes from the earthquake with buildings folded in half and people at the borders of the quilt with their arms raised. One of the bloggers among us tweets the following, “They are using the art of quilting to honor both their personal histories and quake.” We visit for a while and then Sister Rosemarie announces that lunch is ready.
The nuns have prepared a meal of roast chicken, carrots in mornay sauce, meat pie and potatoes. Before we eat, the sisters break into prayer – a song that is so beautiful, it makes me want to weep. We eat quietly and then prepare to leave. Before we leave the nuns sing us another song. A tune set to “Amazing Grace.” I hear the words “Merci Dieu” and for what will not be the first time on this trip, cry.