Jules Wept

A Volunteer shares the special connection he had with his host father.

By Jason R. Moffitt II - Peace Corps Volunteer, Madagascar (2015 - 2017)

It was Easter Sunday and at the table sat my mother, father,

Grandparents, my two younger

Brothers, a fellow volunteer and myself.

This was no ordinary lunch by any means—

It was a celebration.

We normally wouldn’t drink out of glass

Cups and would never drink coke, but

Today we broke both of these rules.

My host dad, Jules,

Asked me to say the prayer that day.

After the blessing, we

Conversed and exchanged smiles with lots of laughter;

However, the lunch took a sudden turn.

My father explained how grateful his family was

And how much he appreciated me as his third son. In broken

English he said, “I wish for you to have

A good life in Sava. Today, today, today…

My family is… sad that you go— ”

Seeming to have been lost for words, his head


My mother rested her hand upon

His shoulder and upon doing so, he slowly

Lifted his head…

My father, a man

Who I had come to know as one

Of the strongest, toughest individuals in town

Had the countenance of someone

Who had just received news of the

Passing of a loved one.

His mouth trembled like an earthquake,

His eyes were clouded with tears, then

Instantly broke free like violent waters

Crushing through levies that could no longer hold back…

Staring back into his eyes my heart found it difficult

To hold back its emotions, which in turn,

Caused my eyes to fill with stubborn teardrops

That somehow found it difficult to fall

But suddenly his mood

Was brightened, and smiles and laughter

Filled the table again.

After lunch I

I told my dad that it was okay that he cried

For Jesus, also wept. 

This poem was entered in the Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. The contest received more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries.

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