Haiti was a wonderful experience! It was definitely an eye opener in many different aspects and gave us ALL a greater appreciation for the resources we have back home. Every day was a new adventure! The most rewarding part of the trip was visiting the various tent cities and distributing toys along with food amongst the children and adults. Professor Eller brought along small containers of bubbles for us students to handout to the children. It was amazing to see the smiles on their face running around with other children and giggling with each other.
After visiting numerous places around Haiti, it was sad to see their style of living. In America, we are blessed to have a house, doctors, a job and food to eat. In Haiti, majority of the residence live in tents, suffer from starvation and experience sudden deaths due to illnesses because a doctor is too expensive to afford.
Partners In Development was an organization we worked for that had reshaped many Haitian lives over the years. We visited various families that lived in houses constructed by PID. These families were overwhelmed with appreciation to have a roof over their head and some even shredded tear when expressing their feelings towards PID’s help. Not only has PID reached out to families in a need of a home, then have changed the lives of many children who are malnourished and behind in school. I would like to say thank-you Partners In Development, Professor Eric Eller and Upper Iowa University for allowing us students the opportunity to visit and help out a community in need. For those of you that have not partaken in a mission, make this a goal in your life. This experience was heartwarming and the ability to help others in need was very rewarding.
Ok, so I must admit, I am very glad to be home. I do not desire to pack up and move to Haiti. I would like to return under similar circumstances however as I believe PID to be quite a different organization than most. Most “charitable organizations” are really not very charitable, in that they give until supplies run out and then they are done. PID creates microeconomies that will sustain the individuals over the long-term. PID does not give anything away for free, the individuals must earn the support. It is for this reason I am willing to return. Had PID turned out to be a Band-Aid organization, I would have been very disappointed and would not be willing to ever work with them again. So I realize many reading this blog posts are thinking….gosh Daniel is cold-hearted, but that’s not the case. I simply think targeted aid going to organizations like PID should be the only foreign aid that the US and its citizens engage in, otherwise we are honestly doing the foreign citizens in need a great disservice. Haiti was what I expected, but I have seen worse. It amazes me that after 200 years of independence, Haiti still has no real functioning government or basic government social provisions like roads and sewer facilities. Corruption occurs to some extent in every government and the only solution is that the citizenry must hold its government accountable. Anyways, I just wanted to make a brief post as I could ramble on and on, but will spare the readers.
I guess the country was somewhat like I thought it would be, but then again, it wasn’t. The scene as we were going through the Port-Au-Prince airport after arriving was basically the way I thought the country would be like the entire time we were there, loud, crowded, people running after us trying to take our bags, etc. But really, that was not what Haiti was like. At the clinic and around the streets of Blanchard, the people were nice and friendly, always greeting us whether they spoke English or not. I ended up really liking it in Haiti.
What was hardest for me while there was, like what most people have said, seeing the people, especially the children, in poverty. It was so depressing seeing the kids without proper clothing on and walking around picking up mangos off the street and eating them. I wanted so bad to be able to help them, but if you help one kid, you have to help them all or they fight and won’t leave you alone, as I learned in one of the tent cities we went to.
These cities were definitely depressing to visit. It’s crazy to think that people actually live in shacks and tents made of whatever they can find. It was also hard to see the scrawny animals running around, especially because of the fact that if your animals in the U.S. look like that, they are taken away from you and you might go to jail.
The garbage and destruction along the streets definitely had an impact on me as well. I just wanted to clean it up but where would you put it?
The trip made me a lot more appreciative of what we have here in the U.S. If we would have had one skid-loader at the job site, we could have had done in a day or two what we did the entire week. It’s crazy to think about that. Being away from home for the week didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Not having my phone or the internet didn’t kill me.
The trip brought lots of “firsts” for me. I tried goat meat which shocked my parents. Trying new food was a huge step for me on this trip, as I won’t even do that in my own home. I also rode my first airplane, saw a mountain for the first time, and danced in front of people by myself. (lol!)
The best part of the trip was meeting the people and making new friends. I made several friends both from Haiti and from the other UIU campuses and hopefully I will be able to keep in touch with them and remain friends.
Overall, the trip was a great experience for me and I would definitely recommend it to others. I can’t wait to return to Haiti someday and see the progress and help out again.
When getting ready to leave for Haiti I did not really think too much of what it would be like. Yeah I knew they just had an earthquake and it would be bad however, it was in a way what i expected. When we were driving to the clinic I was in a little bit of a shock to see all the trashed pile high and random goats, cows, and dogs eating from it. Some of the houses we passed weren’t too bad but those were mainly the houses that PID had built from the past years. It was amazing and unthinkable to see the living conditions that everyone was living in. It was something that no one here could ever imagine or even live in themselves. Tents with one bed and people sleeping on the ground. Living in the same area when the rain POURS down.
A big impact on me was the people there. On the plane I met a girl who had lived in Haiti for 8 years and what she told me Haiti is a beautiful place. The people are some of the greatest you’ll ever meet and she was right about this. Everyone we met were the most friendliest, hard working, and determined people. When we were working I did not understand how the Haitian workers would barely stop for water. They would never give up.
All in all Haiti was a remarkable experience. I would recommend this trip to anyone! It was taught me so much and to look outside the box a little more and notice how we here can do better things.
I don’t even know where to start. Going to Haiti I thought I would be more surprised and shocked by the poverty but I handled it pretty well. It sounds really bad to say but before this trip and hearing about the Haiti earthquake, I honestly didn’t care. I had my own life to worry about and it was in a totally different country, but going on this trip really opened my selfish eyes. Before the trip, when I was researching Haiti, I was so thankful for what I had and what my world had to offer but now I am soooooo much more thankful than I ever was. Seeing these beautiful children on streets starving, not clothed and unable to get an education was devastating. I have learned so much on this trip, the statistics have seized to amaze me and have me hooked. This experience makes me want to learn more about Haiti and other countries as well! There were many ups and downs to this trip, mostly emotionally. One down side was seeing dogs and goats that were all skin and bones, this really hit home to me, because my pets are my treasures and in this country they can’t feed their children let alone try to worry about feeding a dog. One up side for me was experiencing the language barrier situation. This was something that scared me before going to Haiti and I actually got put into the situation while working with a Haitian man who did not speak English and I definetly don’t speak Creole. It turns out that even though we didn’t know what each other was saying, facial expressions and laughter are all the same everywhere! I met so many great people on this trip that I will never forget.
The satellite internet connection in Haiti was painfully slow and unreliable. Check back in the coming days for reflective posts from the team members.
I was initially hesitant to go on this trip, but my roommate (Daniel) decided he wanted to go and so I signed up as well. I am also able to utilize the credits towards my degree in Finance, which is an added bonus. I have been overseas to Europe but this will be my first trip to a developing nation. I hope to gain a greater understanding of the workings of a developing nation. I also expect this trip to be life-changing in that I am sure I have never realized the realities of life in developing nations. I enjoy challenges and learning new skills. I know that helping to rebuild the community following the earthquake will give an opportunity to try my hand at construction, which is something I’ve not done before. Overall, I look forward to the trip and the learning that will accompany it.
When I first learned of the UIU trip to Haiti, I decided to go because I thought it would be fun and a great life experience. When I was younger, I had the privelege of going on multiple missions trips around the world with my church. These included trips to Pago-Pago, American Samoa; St. Petersburg, Russia; Irkutsk, Siberia; and Mexico City. In addition to these trips I took personal learning trips to Germany several times and family vacations to Europe, Israel and Egypt. Each of these trips gave me a better understanding of the respective cultures. I enjoy traveling overseas and try and take full advantage of any opportunities to do so. The missions trips always remind me of how truly blessed I am to live in the United States and the opportunities that abound here from the freedoms we hold so dear. I participated in the graduation ceremonies at Fayette this past weekend and do not need the course for credit but feel the course will be beneficial to furthering the understanding of diverse cultures. Most importantly I hope to be able to help an organization with a great project that makes a difference in the lives of less fortunate individuals.
I am majoring in Human Services with a minor in Psychology, and my anticipated graduation date is Dec. 2012. I obtained my Associate’s degree in Medical Administration in 2006. This will be my second trip to Haiti, as I traveled there in February 2010 with a group of doctors and nurses on a medical relief mission following the earthquake. My true passion lies in helping others, which is one of the many reasons why I chose to enroll in a class that allows me the opportunity to return to Haiti to help with rebuilding efforts.
I am hoping to learn more about Haiti’s history, their current crises, and their native language, Creole. I am also hoping to get the chance to help people directly, if possible, in addition to helping to rebuild houses. Although the people of Haiti are strong, resilient, determined, and resourceful, they need our help! I cannot wait to once again participate in the efforts to rebuild a better and brighter future for the people of Haiti!