Today, let me introduce our team and also give some details about our preparations for the trip.
First of all, we have a very international and diverse group and i’m sure each member brings unique experiences and great contributions. I will introduce them from left to right, as you see in the group picture above.
Back row – Stephen Gordon, Joe Lownik, Dr Eric Eller, Sargunan Raj, Agnieta Sharpe and Nathan Wagner
Front row – Hoang Dang Nhat (AKA-Alex), Miss Kit Klepinger, Aishath Zeena ( me ), Wern Cheen Chang, Caitlyn Finger and Maria Drilling.
Stephen, Joe, Dr Eller, Miss Kit, Nathan, Caitlyn and Maria are Americans. Wern and Raj are from Malaysia (truly Aisa ). Agnieta is from Cambridge, UK. Alex is from Vietnam. And as u all already know, I am from Maldives (the sunny side of life :D ). Dr Eller and Miss Kit are faculty members and the rest are students at Upper Iowa University.
Although we are leaving for Haiti on May 11th early morning at 3:00am, we have started taking weekly classes prior 1 month. We started the first class by writing why we were going on this trip, what we can contribute and what we can gain from the trip. Miss Kit and Dr Eller gave us information regarding the cost, time and date, living conditions, food etc. We also brainstormed for ideas on how to raise funds for the trip so that our expenses would be low (as we are paying for the trip which was around $1200/- in the beginning). Good news is, because of the fund raising efforts, donations from different sources and help from UIU, our trip expenses now, I would say is, next to nothing. This was the effort of all the members of the team and help from well wishers.
At our first meeting, Miss Kit conducted an ice-breaking session where she made us identify different behaviors as cultural, universal or personal and grouped us with things we either liked or disliked. I thought this was rather helpful as we saw what we did and did not have in common. It was fun yeyyyyyy ! One thing everyone should know about me is that i am NOT a morning person, i love to sleep
The rest of the classes were rather informative and educational. For each class, the team was divided into groups so that we would be in different groups for every class. The groups were then assigned topics such as History, Culture, Geography, Government, Current Political System, Economy and the Earthquake (immediate response and current crisis) of Haiti.
Meanwhile, we were all visiting travel clinics and making sure that we had our vaccines up to date. We had to get Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid, Tetanus shots and Malaria pills. I was given four shots on the same day, two on each arm. Believe me, it’s not fun at all. The travel nurse told me “don’t worry, you will be fine!”. I’m not sure whether I was fine or not but I slept for three days like a hibernating bear and my arms were stiff. Well! It was an experience just like the rest of the experiences I’m looking forward to. The whole team took malaria pills on May 4th, which we are supposed to take one week before the trip, during the trip and continue for three weeks after we are back from the trip. So guys, don’t worry about us. We are going with a strong defense system haha
In the last class, we all wrapped up on final details about the trip. We have our ID’s ready and required documents signed. We also collected items we would be taking such as medicines and bandages to be donated, sleeping bags for us and so on.
I’m pretty psyched right now as the departure day is coming closer. And I can feel the excitement when I see any of the members of the team. I still remember in the first class Miss Kit came and hugged me and shouted “we will be one big family”, which is really true. During this week in Haiti, we will see ourselves at our best and our worst and i believe the experiences we have in Haiti while working, reconstructing, cleaning and helping the victims will forever change us in a very humane way.
I will write one more post before we leave. To be continued………….
Feel free to leave a comment or well wishes. Thanx for the love.