In the spring of 2012 I traveled to Haiti for spring break with my campus ministry, Duke Wesley Fellowship. Although Haiti possesses a rich history (it was the first nation in Latin America to gain independence), the last century has not been kind to Haiti and Haiti is now the poorest country in the Americas. After the 7.0 earthquake in 2010, Haiti was left devastated, and much of its capital, Port-au-Prince, laid in rubble. After the quake, the loss of infrastructure led to the outbreak of cholera that turned into an epidemic across the country.
When I traveled to Haiti, I could see the earthquake had played a toll on the landscape, but despite their current situation, the people had a resilient spirit that would be respected anywhere. I stayed for three days at a school in Port-au-Prince called Blanchard that offered a free education for the children in the community. Then we traveled to the mountains to Fondwa, where we stayed at an university (the university had only four classrooms with wooden benches and sawdust for a floor) for a night, and then traveled to our final destination, a boys home in coastal Fondwa, before we returned to Port-au-Prince.
When I traveled to Haiti the hospitality of the people amazed me. It hurt to understand that many of the privileges we were given (clean water, beds, hearty meals, a roof over our heads) were unavailable for many of the people who hosted us and certainly a majority of the population. Even though I was only in Haiti for a week, I still felt a culture shock when we drove back to Duke. Simple things like paved roads, stoplights, power that didn't suffer from blackouts, and buildings with roofs just didn't exist in Haiti. It reminded me how blessed we are everyday and we should never take for granted the great wealth and opportunities we have in this country.
Link to Haiti Pictures
Link to Wesley group Haiti blog