Monday, January 24, 2011

Bowling for Haiti (and other places)

On Saturday afternoon, a lively crowd of more than fifty people gathered at the local bowling lanes to have a Bowl-a-thon in support of the L'Arche communities in Central and South America. We started with a short prayer for those communities, and then people with and without disabilities bowled two games together.

Bowling with the community is a real hoot. Mostly, we use the lanes with the gutter guards, and though there are four prizes for the highest scores for men and women with and without disabilities, there are also prizes for "most enthusiastic" and "most creative" bowlers. Not being a great bowler (I have a wicked curve that I can't control), I really enjoy bowling with people who celebrate every pin that goes down. Nothing like hearing constant cheers to raise everyone's spirits! Julia had one of her best games ever, and one of her worst: she beat her mother and almost broke a hundred in the first game, then "silly-bowled" the second (shooting under one leg, then the other, bowling backwards and performing all sorts of contortions) for a grand total of... 24 gutterballs and 15 points. I think she could have won the worst score trophy had there been one!

The annual Bowlathon has been happening for a number of years to raise funds for L'Arche communities in developing countries. L'Arche Edmonton has a Solidarity Committee whose mission it is to raise over $5000 a year to be sent to L'Arche communities in places like Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Haiti. We've learned a bit about some of these communities through pictures and letters, and a very special blog.

Mwen Pa Fou (a Haitian Creole phrase that translates as "I'm not crazy") is the name of an online journal by a young man who lives with one of two L'Arche communities in Haiti. I have been following Jonathan Boulet-Groulx's writings on and off since he launched his blog the week before I began working for L'Arche in October 2009, and have really appreciated his take on life there, especially since the goudougoudou (earthquake). All the members of L'Arche in Haiti survived the quake except for one board member, but many are still living in tents because their buildings were destabilized or destroyed on January 12th last year. Jonathan tells many interesting stories about life with L'Arche, and offers very interesting reflections about the extremely slow "rebuilding" of Haiti:

http://www.larche.ca/reporters/jonathan/mwen_pa_fou/en

He has also posted a link on his sidebar where donations may be sent, if you, like many others, have been unsure of ways to get your money to where it is needed.

Having learned a bit about the communities in Haiti, I wish there were also people like Jonathan who could share about the other communities for whom we bowled on Saturday. Knowing about the people for whom we raise funds always makes the exercise a lot more meaningful.

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