We would like to express our deepest thanks to Vretta for supporting the Haiti Awareness Trip 2015. Our entire group of students, faculty and trip leaders wish to extend our appreciation for all that you did to help facilitate this trip for the group that travelled to Haiti between April 26 and May 3, 2015.
The experience proved to be life changing for so many students in our group. A few students were on a plane for the first time, a few had never been out of Canada, most of them didn’t know what it felt like to be part an ethic minority group that didn’t speak the native language.
Below is a brief summary of our trip that we wanted to share with you; and what your support was instrumental in facilitating:
- Our trip started in the northern city of Cap Haitian at the SC Nutrition Centre – where dozens of malnutrition children are given nutritious food and daily care by a staff of nursing/early childhood care givers; while the mothers are enrolled in an Alpha Adult Literacy and Skills Development program two floors below. Students in our group were involved in working in the office for two days with the nursing staff to teach/set up Excel spreadsheet programs to assist in keeping archived and ongoing health records of the children (we brought a Fanshawe College donated laptop/projector with the software already installed for this purpose); others in our group chose to care/feed/play with the children in the nutrition program (thanks to the Rotary Club of London Downtown, we brought developmental and cognitive toys with our visit to leave at this centre); others in the group were actively involved in the adult training/literacy program on the main floor of the centre. . . teaching conversation English, reading/writing Creole, sewing lessons and leading a workshop on making a duct-tape purse for selling in the market (which was a huge hit! We brought duct tape with us, lots of sewing notions & material – again with the financial help Rotary and other donors from Canada.).
- The second phase of our trip involved a lot of personal development and leadership training – where we found ourselves trekking approximately 3,500 feet above sea-level in the mountains to get to the clinic/schools/shelter where we would be staying for a few days. The 38°C heat, high humidity in dry/open space proved to be a challenge for most in the group…but we did it! Thank goodness for dry-fit shirts and lots of water that we carried (our MEC donations were very helpful during this phase). The experience of visiting the mountain villages and people proved to be one of the favourite places in Haiti – the generosity, kindness, sharing they showed to us was overwhelming. We shared a wonderful May 1st celebration with the teachers/parents/students at Gilbert that will forever be in our memories.
- The last phase of our trip involved driving to Port au Prince to spend a day at the Kenscoff NPH orphanage. High in the mountains outside of PaP is this village of 260 children that live full-time on a highly secured compound guarded 24/7. Entrance is by invite only. No photos are allowed. No adoptions are allowed. These children have been abandoned and/or orphaned either from birth or somewhere in their early lives. This facility is a self-contained village – a school, a clinic, residences, a mess hall, gym/play yard, garden, and cemetery. Our group pre-arranged with the NPH admin team to have a one-day outdoors children’s play day – with three concurrent activities: music (vocals & rhythm), soccer tournament and arts/crafts. Again thanks to donations from our supporters in London, we were able to hold an amazing 8-team soccer tournament for 40 children (donated award medals w/Canada pins attached, donated soccer balls & whistles) an astounding ½ time musical show from two-dozen children of all ages (playing donated rhythm instruments of all kinds that we brought with us) and three dozen-children chose to be involved with an open-air arts/crafts workshop of making their own hand-painted scarves, dream-catchers and knitted scarves w/ribbons (all purchased from the donations of our supporters!) What a day – not a dry eye in the bunch when we left this place. Just amazing!
That was our trip. You helped make this happen. We are all forever grateful for your help. Thank you for making a difference in our lives and those we touched this past week.
The HAT’15 Group of Students
Professor Teresa Park, Professor Dawn Rovers, and Professor Victoria Digby