It’s amazing, as soon as the decision was made to focus on Haiti, everything began to fall into place. Due to the fact that I am funding my “fact finding trip” on my own, I have to keep my expenses to a bare minimum while being as safe as possible. I wouldn’t feel right if I were to spend my nights staying in a nice hotel while spending my days experiencing the worst poverty that I will probably ever see. That’s why I am so happy that I found Haiti Communitere (formerly Grassroots United)! HC is minutes away from the Port au Prince airport, there is 24 hour security, the daily per Diem is super low and includes 2 meals, and most importantly, they work as a hub for international groups to launch pilot projects, manage on the ground projects, and network with other similarly focused groups. I can’t think of a more perfect place!
HC is also going to be the perfect place for me to get out of my comfort zone. This is where I have to admit that I do not camp, I enjoy running water, and I genuinely like indoor plumbing. I have attempted to camp, once, and a 2 night trip was cut short after the first night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of getting my hands dirty or doing hard work. I get up on my roof and fix it myself, I’ve tiled floors, removed popcorn ceilings, changed lighting fixtures, painted a million rooms, dug up trees, replaced sinks, faucets, light switches, electrical outlets, etc. But, at the end of the day I like a good shower and my own comfy bed. I’m not going to get that at HC. While there are several levels of accommodation, the least expensive is a tent. There is no running water. Yes, this means no flushing toilet and no shower. I plan on being proficient at the cold water bucket shower at the end of my 2 weeks! (It’s pretty self explanatory but Google it if you want, I did!) I hope you don’t think I’m complaining; I am simply stating the facts. I will be out of my comfort zone and I’m glad.
If HC sounds intriguing, you can visit their website at www.haiti.communitere.org. They accept donations and volunteers. You can also see a list of their current projects and meet their team.
They have already been very helpful. After explaining what I want to do, they put me in touch with other people and organizations to reach out to prior to my trip. Because I can only be in Haiti for 2 weeks, I need to get a lot of groundwork done to get the most out of my time there. I have made a couple of great connections, one in Haiti and one in the UK (I’ll introduce you to them in a later post.) I’ve been given some great advice, learned more on the needs of Haitian children, met a couple of truly inspirational people, and I have my first 153 kiddos that I hope to help. I haven’t even left yet and this is already awesome!