On one particular day back when there was a great deal of political and civil turmoil in Cite Solei after President Aristide left the country -- it was becoming increasingly clear that the very poor of Cite Solei, especially the elderly and the children, were starving. The leader of the gang, along with all gang members and the staff of Hands Together fed over 200,000 people in one day. Hands Together supplied the food and they distributed it all in a very orderly fashion.
As a Catholic priest I began to feel more and more like a father to them. I would listen and talk with them. Many times I would get angry with them -- especially when they would participate in the violence. I would cry with them and I would laugh with them. I would preside at many of their funerals.
The years have gone by and I find myself now in 2013 still having a big space in my heart for all of them. Many of them if not all of them really do not want to participate in violence. They want a job and they crave for a life of normalcy.
Tragically, and I don't know why but through the years many politicians have taken advantage of them often offering them money if they would participate in disrupting a political demonstration and do things that would create instability.
Over the years I have been a fool often accepting their lies or excusing their lives. But, I find myself more than ever loving them and wanting them to change. I pray every day for them and and I ache when they die.