I chose to go to Haiti because my good friend, Mary Claire Gaddy, had gone on a couple trips with Coreluv and I was beyond interested to see what it was all about.
My biggest apprehension beforehand was catching some sort of disease and not having the right medical care to deal with the problem, but honestly that thought didn’t even cross my mind once I was there.
I was so excited to land in Haiti. I remember a Haitian woman sitting next to me on the plane and only speaking creole. Every time I think about the experience it makes me laugh. There was no way for us to communicate yet she just chattered on about who knows what and was one of the happiest people I think I have ever seen on an airplane.
That happiness remained, but the next part of our trip was a little bumpy. Looking back on it, driving in Haiti still gives me anxiety. I mean how on earth did we not crash? It was the most fun I have ever had on a 4-hour car ride though. The roads are nothing like the roads we are used to in America. There are no rules and everywhere you go people are driving on whatever side of the road they choose, there was weaving and honking all the time, and on top of all that, motorcyclists (with about three to four people stacked on a bike) are driving in-between cars with only about two feet of room. You can’t help but wonder how brave they must be to do that.
It was such a culture shock to see how the people live in Haiti. Driving past all the colorful markets and the loud chatter of the locals was unlike anything I had ever experienced.
When we first arrived at the Children’s Village we went to church. I was sitting in one of the back rows next to some of the nurses who had come to work in the free clinic that week. I looked down in a plastic chair and there was a little girl reaching her arms up to me, so I bent over and picked her up. Little did I know this sweet girl was Stamara, one of the children who would change my life that week (pictured above).
I think that the most difficult aspect of being in Haiti was knowing I would have to leave. I fell in love with the children and grew so close to the rest of the volunteers that as the week went by I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I mean by day two I was already planning how I would save up the money to return the next
The first thing I said to my mom when I got home from Haiti was, word-for-word, “When can I go back?”. I told all of my friends how much the week changed my life, I couldn’t (and still really can’t) put into words how much my week in Haiti changed me. It changed my outlook on life completely and I just don’t know how else to explain it.
On my trip, I spent a week surrounded by Christians. I did not grow up with a church-going family and I felt out of place and embarrassed for most of the trip. I also realized that everyone I was surrounded by, especially the children, had a relationship with God. It dawned on me one day at the orphanage that I could take control of the situation. I felt that I was ready for a change in my life, and nothing was holding me back at this point from being able to make my own decision. I decided to accept Christ into my life and become a Christian. I was both scared and excited for the change, and I have been happier since I made that choice.
This trip has completely changed my life. I moved from Texas to Ohio right before that trip, so I actually had several major life changes right at the same time. Since I no longer live in Texas, I won’t be able to be a part of the club at my high school. I wasn’t sure how I would advocate for the orphan when I was so far away from everybody I know, but after meeting some new friends in Ohio I decided to start a club at my high school. A lot of new people I met got involved and once the club officially started we began raising awareness through fundraisers, making t-shirts, and the end goal is to take a group on a mission trip in the summer! I am counting down the days until I get to go back.
I can’t imagine not seeing these children again.