Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,
On my drive into work, I see the huge cruise ships in port, and I often wonder about the people that work on the colossal vessels. The ratio on some of these ships is one employee to two passengers. Interesting to note, many employees cannot leave the ship when in port and are on these floating cities for up to five months. When I went to Haiti to work with a sister school of mine, I met an inspiring young man named Dudley Jean, who worked on one of these cruise ships. Dudley was an impressive young man. He and I talked for hours, and he shared that his family never recovered after the 2010 earthquake; they lived on the streets for three months and just learned to survive.
Dudley works on cruise ships to ensure that there is food for his family. I asked him, “What can we do to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti?” and he replied, “You are doing it; just being present in Haiti and having this conversation is helpful.” I continued our conversation by asking Dudley what he thought is wrong with Haiti and why the country is so impoverished. He snickered and replied that I would not appreciate his answer. In his mind, Haitian people want more, while he believes the bigger problem is the lack of food. He works because food and drink are all a person really needs; nothing else is that important, everything else is a comfort and a want. Dudley also told me that, to survive in Haiti, you need a network of people. “Without people and nourishment, you have nothing.” Dudley goes on to say that because there is no economy, and work is very difficult to find; people are willing to do almost anything. The word nourishment has taken on a new meaning for me after visiting Haiti and talking to Dudley. When I hear children say, “I am starving,” I reflect on Dudley and the cruise ships.
Lastly, I asked Dudley if it was difficult to see all the waste on the cruise ship at the buffets? He chuckled, “They paid for it, so they can eat, if that is what they like to do.” The thing that does bother him is the people that demand food at two o’clock in the morning. He looked at me, eyes as wide as saucers, “I mean who really needs food at two o’clock in the morning; that is when you sleep.” Dudley Jean inspired my soul and enriched my visit to Haiti. His story is a vivid reminder of how abundantly blessed we are. As we continue into the holiday season, may you find time to count your blessings and pray for those in need.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550