Saturday, March 8, 2014


Dear Family and Friends,

After filming our Global Scavenger Hunt activity, I, along with
Delilah, Caleigh, and Hutch went down to the homes to help with the
installation of lightbulbs, outlets, and wiring. I was so impressed by
the restlessness and diligence of Philipe and Maurice, who worked
without a minute of rest. The houses consisted of one or two beds and
maybe one table. They were the size of one to two St. Andrew's
dormitory rooms. The floors were made of stone or dirt and at every
strike of the hammer, parts of the wall seemed to crumble. Wires are
suspended by bamboo poles and hang from home to home throughout the
village. Bear shared with us his concern that in a thunderstorm or
hurricane, the wires would fall over and disconnect. We are praying
that our installations are stable enough to last for a very long time.
Hopefully, this project would serve as an example for the people to
initiate change in their communities. In total, 7-8 homes now have
light and electricity, all solar powered.
At around 4:30 we all settled down for a dinner of Haitian pizza,
french fries, and plantains. After dinner we headed back down to the
school to play some soccer. Delilah, Caleigh and I were on a team with
Jacques, Hutch, Sonny, and a man from the village. We shutout
Joycelin, Michelle, Bridget, Liam, Fillipe, and Eddison, 5-0. The hard
rain from the morning made the field incredibly muddy and my sneakers,
worn from a season of volleyball in the fall were sliding all over the


   I can't believe it's already day eight which means that today is our
last day in LaFond. I can't express how incredible this trip has been
and how much each and every person here has meant to me. The pure
beauty of this place and all the happiness and kindness the LaFond
community have shared with us are unforgettable.
   When we woke up this morning we were blessed with a Haitian breakfast
that Sunny had prepared for us. This consisted simply of coffee,
juice, and bread. After such extravagant meals for the entirety of our
trip, it was really nice to be able to end our stay in LaFond eating
the way they do.
   Right after breakfast we played soccer with the kids for a bit and
then we headed down to the school for a sort of culminating activity
with all of the kids. We all had so much fun playing duck duck goose,
red rover, sharks and minoes, and indian chief. It was initially
challenging to explain the games to them, but once they understood, it
was so incredible to be laughing and experiencing the joy of the
moment with them. Afterward, Hutch gave Jacques' soccer team uniforms
given to him by a friend in Delaware. It is difficult to express the
affect this had on the boys. They were beaming. As we headed up to
lunch we watched as they divided themselves up and started playing
against each other, now completely aware of who was on whose team.
   Sunny had prepared another Haitian meal which consisted of potatoes
and carrots in a cream sauce. After lunch, we headed down to the
village to see how the solar panel installation was coming along. We
realized very quickly that everything was under control, so Bear took
us on a long walk through the village. We got to visit houses and meet
new people, and with every house we passed, another kid joined our
group. By the end of our walk, we had probably fifteen kids holding
our hands. I felt at this moment that we really had established
amazing friendships on this trip that I will never forget.
   When we arrived back at camp Sunny had laid out an incredible feast
for us. It was delicious and a fantastic final dinner. Afterward,
about fifty of us headed to Jacques soccer field. Describing this
place as the most beautiful place I have ever been feels like an
understatement. Despite the cow poop scattering the field, it was
pristine. We were right at the base of a mountain, with rocks and
women and horses lining the hills. We split into different teams and
played for about an hour. I can't say I am particularly skilled in the
game of soccer, but even so, I had so much fun running around the
beautiful field. By the time the hour was up, the score was one to
one, which seemed like a perfect way to end, despite the fact that I
did really want to win.
   When we got back Bear surprised us with the opportunity to go down
the mountain and visit some of the houses that had had lights
installed. It was amazing to see what the lights did for them and the
happiness they felt having received them. The darkness in Haiti is
unlike anything I have ever seen and I am so glad that they can now
face this darkness.
   I have mixed feelings as our trip comes to a close. Of course I miss
everyone at home and the comforts of being in the states, but it's
difficult to say goodbye to this simple lifestyle, and the pure
happiness, kindness, and fellowship flooding through this community. I
hope I bring a piece of LaFond home and wherever I go next.
   Much love, Bridget

   I feel like I've been here, in LaFond, for only six days but it feels
like a month and still I am so sad that we are leaving tomorrow. Today
was the last full day we had in LaFond and it was a great closing to
the trip, but still it was a closing that I want to delay. We started
the day as always, eating breakfast with the kids playing beside us,
but we immediately set into a routine of closure.
   We headed down the hill to the school to play some lat big group
games with all of us. Duck Duck Goose, Sharks and Minnows, and Red
Light, Green Light were the most energetic games. The exuberance on
the kid's faces was pleasing and I immediately whipped out my camera
to see if I could pause time just for a second. It didn't really work
but I do have a few seconds documented forever.
   After lunch we set out to work on the solar panel project, but really
we just visited the people of LaFond. On that four mile trek I
realized that there were still so many things that I didn't know about
the community, and it just made me resent my upcoming departure even
more. During that walk, I began to think about the impact my time in
LaFond had on me; not only was I more conscious of the need in the
world and how seemingly far away place had an effect on me, but also I
have an acute sense of what I need and what I am able to have.
   The one constant thing in our visit was the soccer games in the
evenings. Jackque today took us to a REAL field and we played an 11 v
11 game which was an exciting and drastic change to the 6 v 6 games in
front of the school. It was amazing and it embodied our trip, with the
tussles and the cheers and the community....all on the field.
   I want to write more i really doe, but I just had the saddest good
bye of my entire life in the middle of writing this. I realize how
close I was to these people and that it was coming to an end. We are
now focusing on hopes for the future but there is still a part of me
that wants to go back a day or two, and relive it again and again. My
headache from crying is getting worse from the light of the laptop, so
I'm going to sign off, but I want to leave you with one thought, you
interpret it as you please: Service is less about intent and impact,
and more about relationships, laughter, community and love.
   -Joycelin Farmer

   Around 3:00 this afternoon, our group was dispersed on three small
motor boats sailing to a small beach on a Haitian island. The vivid
array of the blues of the sky, clouds, and ocean water, were a stark
contrast to the bright greens and muddy browns of the LaFond community
which we had left a few hours earlier. The morning in LaFond had been
a bittersweet departure. Our master chef Sunni had made one of our
favorite breakfasts consisting of popcorn, banana's, bread, and peanut
butter after having a harried morning packing and getting the last of
our things together. Then the came the sad part: the goodbyes. Many of
the children whom we had gotten to know quite well over the past few
days were there to see us off. While a couple got their last minute,
"give me your shoes," out of their system, many gave us hugs and
smiles emphasizing the friendships we had already garnered.
As we piled into our two cars ready to go down the mountain, a boy
named Wanelson who we had all previously established as an adorable
yet tough prankster, came to also say goodbye. When Michelle stuck her
upper body out the window to give him a hug goodbye, he surprised us
all by commencing to cry. We all fled our cars to bear hug him of
course, even though he refused to look any of us in the face, however,
this last gift from LaFond showed us that even though it had not
always been visible, many of the kids cared about us just as much as
we cared about them, and that in itself was so special.
Our trek down the mountain to Petit G'uave was rocky and beautiful.
It was wild remembering our same journey upwards a few days earlier
and how contrasting our views are now then they were then. Once
reaching the hotel, we dropped off our bags and took the 30 second
walk across the street to the small rocky strip in front of the ocean
where our boats were docked. We took a 30 minute or so boat ride to a
small beach and spent a few hours there. We swam around inside the
clear and warm tropical blue water and relaxed on the shore. At 4:00
we had a late delicious 'lunch' (calling it a feast would be more
appropriate) of plates of ginormous lobster, mahi mahi, small french
fries, and fried plantains. Shortly after we headed back to the hotel.

It s now around 9:30 and I am lying on a lawn chair by the pool at the
hotel. There is a small band set up a few feet away playing typical
rhythmic and contagious Haitian music and my friends are laughing and
dancing on the pavement beside. I feel a bit physically drained from
the day, and mentally exhausted from bawling my eyes out a few minutes
earlier: Chris called us together  and we stood in a circle. He took
out a candle, lit it, and directed us to pass it around telling the
rest of the group our appreciations and impact from the trip. I was to
be first and mumbled out a few things that no where near summed up my
feelings, and then passed it on. About 3 people later I started
feeling my eyebrows furrow together and an itch in the inner corner of
my eye. When Jacques spoke (eighth person around circle) I began full
on crying. By the time the candle came around the circle and got to
Bridget (who was our last person), I noticed I was joined by a couple
of others, The final step of the exercise was to bring the candle to
the center of our circle and have us all blow it out signifying the
end of our journey. This was followed by hugs and tears....and more
tears, and more hugs.

After we came to sit and listen to the music, I sat across from an
emotional Liam. We talked for a few minutes about the difficulty in
leaving and the pain we were both feeling. As I looked and listened to
him, I was so in awe of the capacity he possesses to care so deeply
for other people and the world around him making me realize even more
how lucky I was to be with the people around me.

Back to the lying on the lawn chair listening to music, wiring this
post, and reflecting on the trip, I have decided to try to sum the
experience up in a few sentences. So here goes...
   Over the last 9 days, our odd bunch has come together in interesting
and unexpected ways and become a little family. Our family has learned
and endured together understanding Haitian culture, and certain
realties about the world around us. Through this journey, it seems we
have come to an unspoken consensus of a changed definition of service.
We now understand service is less about us alone enacting physical
surface change, and more about the relationships one builds allowing
change to occur side by side and hand by hand (as corny as it sounds).
Through this process of change and understanding, the puzzle to our
own personal identities and purposes have shifted, changed and
acquired new pieces. I know I can say and be joined in saying that
this experience will be held in our hearts and minds for the rest of
our lives. While I am confused, harried, tired, sad, distraught, and
upset, I am also incredibly happy and I just feel so thankful and

Sending much love and our excitement to see you all soon,

Delilah Harvey


Today, we left village, moved back to petit goyave and spent day at beach 45min away by boat. We had lobster, fish and chips and watched flying fish at sunset upon the return. Now we are hotel swimming!


Today, we left village, moved back to petit goyave and spent day at beach 45min away by boat. We had lobster, fish and chips and watched flying fish at sunset upon the return. Now we are hotel swimming!


Friday, March 7, 2014

La Fond, Haiti 3 - 5 - 14

Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings from picturesque La Fond, Haiti where the folks are
beautiful and content.  Their smiles and laughter come from a place
that knows where true happiness resides.  Today is Ash Wednesday in
the church calendar and the imposition of ashes is the prescribed way
to celebrate this beginning of Lent.  "From dust you came and to dust
you shall return" seems fitting in this country where the people in La
Fond are so connected to the land - green at this time of year due to
the short six week rainy season, and dusty and dry for most of the
rest of the year.  Remembering you are mortal and that death is
assured restores humility to those of us who "have the world's goods."
Receiving ashes almost seems an unnecessary reminder to the Haitians
whose humility and lack of presumption is as refreshing as it is
convicting.  Without all of the distractions and trappings of our
bloated society, people here concentrate here on living life - its
joys and its tragedies - knowing that our return to the dust is
inevitable and that we have the opportunity live, laugh, and love NOW.
So what do we spend our lives doing?  I know that I try to push the
idea of my own mortality far out of my mind - but focusing on my
mortality this Ash Wednesday and throughout the forty days of Lent
will inspire me to live purposefully and with a grateful heart.
To all of our loved ones whom we miss terribly we send our love and
we hope that you spare a moment today to remember this nation and its
incredible people who have endured so much hardship.  Perhaps each day
in Lent you could say a prayer for Haiti and for all of God's children
who struggle to meet the challenges of finding the basic necessities
of life.

With deep appreciation for all who made this trip possible,
Hutch (or, "Etch" as the children here pronounce it)

La Fond Belle 3-6-14

When we woke up this morning it was soggy, windy and overcast.  Our
plans to hike down to a small village in the valley had to be
postponed for safety reasons. The rain had made the paths slippery and
difficult to navigate. We decided to change our plans and asked the
students to present their findings from the "Global Issues Scavenger
Hunt" activity.  Each team of two students interviewed members of the
community, young and old, to gain a better perspective on issues
surrounding healthcare, education, gender roles, housing, water
security, agriculture and the weather.  They also asked each
interviewee what their hopes and dreams were for the community and
what aspect of the community they were most proud of?  We filmed their
responses in a documentary format including segments with community
leaders.  All of these activities are an extension of the WLS
leadership training curriculum.  Students have learned to leverage
their different temperament types including their strengths and
weaknesses.  In our group students are identified as Idealists who
give birth to a vision, Conceptualizers who actively help the group
solve problems, Artisans and Experiencers who make ideas become
reality, Traditionalists who set boundaries, and Guardians, who take
an active role in maintaining group cohesiveness.  The group continues
to evolve and it has been wonderful to see the students affirm and
support each other as they share this journey together.  Part of the
leadership training includes a practice of giving "Stars" and
"Stairs": Singling out individuals for special recognition (stars) or
suggesting areas for growth (stairs). I would like to give "stars" to
all of the members of the group for their exceptional openness,
flexibility, adaptability, generosity and kindness.  Our students have
demonstrated these qualities over and over again with each other and
with the members of the Lafond community.  A special shout out to our
leader-coordinator-superhero Chris for making sure that we always felt
safe and supported while at the same time challenging us
intellectually, physically and emotionally during our time in Haiti.
We thank him for his endless stories about his eclectic adventures and
awe-inspiring experiences in every corner of the globe.  We thank him
for his love of laughter and song and for his pure servant's heart.
There are no words to express our gratitude to the Meance Family,
Berthin (Bear) and Jacques for sharing their love of family and
country.  They have made us believers: A better future for Haiti is
possible if we all work together and share the same vision.  Finally,
to my co-laborer and brother in Christ, "Coach" Hutch, you always
believed we could make this happen.  Thank you for supporting me and
for being a living example of the Christian servant in 1 John 3:16. A

ma famille et à mes amis, "Mesi anpil." Je vous aime. -Diahann

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Monday, March 3rd

Dear family and friends,

If I could find one word to describe the entire day that started with
popcorn and hot chocolate for breakfast, the words "enlightenment" and
"discovery" immediately come to mind. Today, we began our three
service projects. One group is working on wiring solar panels in
twelve homes. Another group is working to level out the hilly soccer
field. The last group is spending time with the children of the Lafond
Primary School--teaching, playing games, and singing.

Down at the school and soccer field, our St. Andrew's group was joined
by nearly one hundred children in the village. Ignited by curiosity,
enthusiasm, and a genuine desire to help, kids sprinted to grab a
shovel and a bucket to help dig the dirt. The kids were either
barefoot or wearing torn, muddy shoes. This filled me with a sense of
despair, but when I looked to their smiling and grateful faces, their
joy was nearly contagious. In a matter of minutes, we overcame the
initial Creole-English language barrier and produced an efficent team
system. One group, at one side of the soccer field, dug out the dirt
into buckets. Another group carried the buckets to the other end of
the field and another group filled the uneven terrain with dirt and
planted sod. Before today, I had no idea that it was possible for
pieces of grass and sod, planted in other parts of the field, to grow
again with time and rain. You may be wondering: why are we spending so
much time on leveling a soccer field? Why aren't we spending more time
feeding the people and providing the people here with "real
necessities?" However, if you could see the love and passion that the
Haitian people here have for soccer, you would agree with me that by
fixing their field, we are making the children here beyond happy.
There is nothing more rewarding than to work with the children, in
union, rather than simply work for the people here.

Later that afternoon, we gathered and listened to Bear's discussion on
Haitian History and what we could to resolve the bigger problems of
Haiti, like the poverty levels, class warfare, and political
corruption. Bear identified the main problem of Haiti as the small,
elite group that controls almost all the wealth in the nation. This
group holds many monopolies on goods, lands, and businesses that make
it is nearly impossible for the middle and lower class to climb the
social ladder. Hearing this, I initially felt hopeless. Questions
like, "How do we fix corruption? How do we break the strict class
structure?" flooded my mind. Bear appeased my worries by showing that
there is always a possibility for resolution and there is no such
thing as, "there is nothing that we can do." He shared his vision of
an ideal nation, where students would be educated to a
university-level, and would return to their village and city to
utilize their education for the benefit of Haiti. The cycle, that
currently takes place, is that students that attain a great education,
move to places with more opportunities, like the U.S, and become
employed there. Thus, they invest the fruit of the education they
recieved in Haiti to other countries, enriching them while leaving
Haiti in the dust. We must strive to break this cycle and encourage
students to return and invest their skills into Haiti in order to
build a source of wealth. On listening to Bear's envisionment and plan
of a restored Haiti, I was again empowered to realize our potential to
create change.

Here, I am doing more than simply "service." Many people told me,
before I left for this trip, "You don't need to go all the way to
Haiti to help people. Besides, the nation would probably benefit more
from sending them money." Before this trip, I did not know exactly how
to address this. I wasn't even completely sure why I wanted to go,
except to serve and learn. But, as I sit here now, I know that I will
leave this place with a relationship with the country and its people.
There is a special bond and connection that I have found with this
place that cannot be achieved without first-hand experiencing the
Haitian life.

I hope you all are doing well back at home. We miss you and will see
you in a few days!

Michelle Kim

March 4, 2014

Today, we began to install the solar panels. We installed the solar
panels on the top of the school building. Once the panels were
installed, we went up the hill to install wires, lights, and sockets
into two houses. Izzy, Bear, members of the community, and I went to
two of the houses behind the school. We took out any of the appliances
that were in the house before, and began our process. The group then
fed the wire into the house so we could figure out where to place the
new appliances. Once we had the wire fed in and the places measured
out, we began the process of putting in the lights and plugs. We then
put a light bulb inside the house and just outside the doorway. Once
we placed these in, we fed the wire across the way to another, where
we followed the same process for this house. Once we finished,
according to Haitian culture, we were offered coffee. This was grown,
hand crushed, and brewed. After this, we came back up to camp for
dinner. -Liam Batson '15

People, food, and goats....The Market!!!!! the place was jammed packed
with people, which wasn't the most comfortable, but even

J. Farmer

With all the things going on it was an exciting day. As we moved
passed the craziness of the market, and onto the various service
projects the day ended with great successes. We worked rapidly to
level the soccer field. The St. Andrew's students and the local kids
really combined their efforts to get the job done. The most impressive
feat I witnessed was one of the boys taking a pick-ax to a giant piece
of stone in the soil. Back and forth, back and forth was the pace of
the day carrying loads of rocks and sod. When we all regrouped  each
team shared what they accomplished on their individual projects.
Before we knew it night was upon us and the bands for Carnaval were
coming through the mist to our campsite. As we rushed over to the
commotion we were greeted by a dancing man in a skull mask. We were
immersed in Haitian culture, dancing along with the people swinging
branches, and listening to the beautiful sounds of their music through
the night. As our group settled down for the night, the distant music
serenaded us to sleep.

Caleigh '17

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hello St. Andrew's Community!
I just received a message from instructor Chris Lindstrom, who told me that bandwidth issues have prevented the group from uploading photos and videos but he did say that plenty are being taken and will be shared in the future.  Today the group went to market day and then this evening celebrated carnival. All is well -- more updates tomorrow.
Ross Wehner, WLS

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sunday March 2nd
...Bfast, Church, Bananagrams...

Did you know that the 1.5 million that the Haitian lottery amasses
every year, that is equal to more of all the money coming into Haiti
from Haitians living outside of the country.

This morning we woke up at about 7:00 which was pretty difficult
after a long day yesterday. It was sunny outside with a light breeze
and the air was fresh. Madame told us that she woke up early and
watched the sunrise and Liam and Bear took an early walk with some
people from the village. Sunny had prepared a delicious breakfast of
boiled eggs, fresh mango and grapefruit, and bread with peanut butter
and jam. We all ranted and raved about the peanut butter, as it tasted
infinitely better than American peanut butter. At the beginning of the
trip, Bear told us to both recognize the problems here, but also
recognize the beauty and joy of this place. Between the morning
conversations, the beautiful weather and the delicious food, this
place is beginning to feel a lot like paradise.
After breakfast, Bear and Liam headed off to Catholic mass and the
rest of us headed to the church right in the village for the mass that
Jacques was leading. It is this small building with about ten long
benches that the whole village packs into. I've realized that my
understanding of french does not translate to Creole as much as I
thought it would, but, nevertheless, despite not being able to
understand what was being said as mass today, it was incredibly
moving. There was so much love, spirit, and joy filling the entire
church. We were asked to stand up and speak about why we were in
LaFond and, more specifically, why we were in the church. Jacques
translated for us, and our words were met with claps and smiles. We
expressed our instantaneous love of the people here, our desire to do
whatever we can to help, our thanks for everything they have already
done for us, and our appreciation for the sheer beauty of LaFond. Mr
Hutchinson also got up to the Pulpit and his words, again, were met
with many "Amens" and smiles. By the end we were all singing and
clapping despite the fact that we had no clue what we were saying. As
the mass ended, we shook hands with everyone in the church, with all
of us saying  "Bonjour" and "Merci" and asking everyone their names.
We then sat right outside the church overlooking the mountain with
many of the kids, and they took pictures with our cameras and wrote
their names in our journals.
What was difficult about this moment, however, was that the boys and
girls were asking us for our journals and for our cameras. This was
uncomfortable, because our first instinct was, inevitably, to give our
things away. However, despite how difficult it is in the moment to say
"No, je suis desolé", we've learned over the past few days that we
have to encourage the children to both give and take. I've learned
from reading Paul Farmer's book, "To Repair the World", about the
ethic of "accompayment", or, in other words, to supply those around us
with the tools to provide for themselves. When we were on our way to
Petit Goave, Jacques gave these three boys who came up to our car
window a few snacks, so I gave them a water bottle. I thought this was
alright, that this would be enough for them, but for the next ten
minutes one of the boys followed our car asking for more. When we're
driving in the car we see all of these situations that we crave to
repair, but we just drive past. It feels like second nature,
therefore, to give them at least something because we don't have the
time to "accompany" them, or work with them. I think this is something
we are all trying to work through as our trip develops and as we think
about our community service efforts at home.
After church, we came back to our camp and were greeted with a
beautifully prepared lunch. Sunny had made us swirly pastries filled
with vegetables in a red sauce. They were delicious. He has this tiny,
little kitchen he works in and he manages to prepare this breathtaking
meals. We've realized that this must mean he really adores what he
does. Everytime we eat, a couple children hover at the edge of our
camp. This is an incredibly strange sensation because we know all they
want is some food. Thankfully today we had leftovers so we made them
sandwiches and gave them the rest of the food Sunny prepared.
After this we played a leadership game led by Chris. We created two
boundaries and the objective was to get from one side to the other,
with the space between as a metaphorical river. We had seven pieces of
paper that served as rocks, but these 'rocks' or pieces of paper were
taken away if we let go of them. This was intially difficult, as we
jumped right into it instead of consulting each other and creating a
game plan. We made it across, but upon reflection, we realized that
this game can serve as a metaphor for the service project we are about
to start. We know that if we try to move forward without making a game
plan and making sure everyone is on the same page, our project can
suffer. This was also a really perfect example of all of our
leadership styles, whether we are at the front vocally leading or
staying behind or even leading by example.
After the game, we spent about an hour teaching all the children that
had gathered how to play both tag and UNO. This was an incredible
experience. They all caught on really fast and we learned really
quickly that despite the language barrier there are so many
commonalities that exist between us like a love for laughter and
games. In the spirit of moving around, Delilah, Hutch, Liam and I
decided to go on a run. Despite having trained all winter for a half
marathon, this run was extremely challenging. We ran down almost
vertcal hills filled with rocks and then right back up them which was,
if not equally challenging, maybe even more so. It was almost like a
Forest Gump experience, as we realized very quickly into the run that
there were girls and boys running right behind us. We were greeted
everywhere we went and while they seemed happy to see us. After
trekking up the last hill, we saw that everyone had begun to play
soccer and after a relatively quick, but delicious dinner, we joined
Now we are sitting around the table drinking tea and reflecting.
These conversations are always filled with laughter, stories, and
honesty. It's a perfect time to get to know each other and learn as
much as possible from each other.

Bridget DuFour

To our dear family and friends-

We hope you are all doing well back home and we miss you all very
much. In these moments of reflection, it is quite difficult for me to
encapsulte all the varrying emotions I am experiencing. While I and
the group have indeed witnessed some things that were difficult to
see, experience, and understand, the number of moments where I have
felt a sense of overflowing happiness and bliss on the trip thus far
has been many. The natural beauty, the beautiful souls of the LaFond
community, our group dynamic, our fearless and inspirational leaders
Madame Johnson, Mr. Hutchinson, Chris our WLS coordinator, Bear (our
given nickname) and Jacques our onsite leaders, and the INCREDIBLE
culinary genious that is Sunni our chef, have made the past three days
(boy, has it only been three days?!) enough enrichment and memories to
last a life time. Though after what we experienced I feel I can be
joined by my travel-mates in saying that our newfound desire for
similar experiences will never be quite satisfied.

Today was a full and incredible day. As we headed down the hill from
our campsite to the church, I did not quite expext the experience our
group was about to receive. The church was no bigger than an average
medium to large sized classroom with walls appearing to be thin slabs
of pavement/stones cemented together. There are two square openings on
either side of the church serving as windows, and the entrance into
the church is a rectangular opening with no door. During the service
when looking out the windows and door, we saw mountains ridded with
green and a bright blue sky full of clouds.

The service itself was a bit indescribable but I will attempt to
capture its beauty and uniqueness. The preachers spoke with so much
power, passion, and was spine tingling. The songs were the
most expressive, as everyone sang with heart and conviction. Some
swayed with their eyes closed and their hands in the air, others
clapped their hands and tapped their feet with the rythem of the
songs. We Americans attempted our best to follow along in song, some
better than others...I mainly just tried to clap my hands as loudly as
possible and sing some random noises that I thought I was hearing, I
felt badly for Bridget who was next to me! The songs incited so much
hope and love that you could practically feel, taste, hear, and see it
circulating around-it was such a magical thing. I felt as if every
inch of my skin was buzzing with excitement and unfiltered happiness
at the beauty of the happiness yet pain, pain yet hope, behind the
songs and people. It was amazing to think that this holy place was
created without many resources, supplies or space. This of course is
all an outside view. While I do feel as if I am trying to absorb as
much as possible, it can be at times difficult to see a much more
simplistic lifestyle and also frustrating that we don't exactly know
the intimate details of these people's daily lives as we desire to
help and make their living situations better. Despite these feelings,
Madame has rightly told us to try to refrain from making assumptions
just based on this outside view we see. After the service ended, we
shook hands with everyone (which was so lovely) and went outside where
we interacted with some of the children for a bit. Looking around at
the rolling mountains and patches of green and brown, feeling the cool
breeze, seeing the interactions of my peers and the children: Michelle
chasing Bebe trying to get him to be in a picture with her, Bridget
with 5 or more little children around and enchanted by her, and Liam
trying to communicate with a local boy was almost too much to handle.
I looked at Madame beside me and she just understood, I tried to get
some words out explaining how I felt and she just shook her head in
that we didn't really need to talk, she was feeling the same way. In
that moment It was so unbelievably comforting for me to be able to
share this experience with all of these incredible people.

Upon returning to the campsite and to Sunni's beautiful meal, we
played Uno and soccer with some of the local children for the next few
hours. As Bridget mentioned, the run that the four of us went on was
probably the hardest yet most fun run ever. It felt, as she said, that
we were in a scene of Forrest Gump...except with small children and
various farm animals! Running on our cross country trek around LaFond,
there were certain points when it felt as if we had the whole world in
arms reach, it was hard to believe something this beautiful exists.
After a delicious dinner when we returned from our run, many of us
played pick up soccer with some of the local kids. I was so surprised
at how good they are, especially considering the majority of them were
barefoot and we were playing on the rocky and hilliest ground. They
are blazing fast and have developed such good footskill, it was so fun
for us to be able to all play together. The rest of the night was
filled with reflection and games.

I feel so lucky to be in this place experiencing it with this group.
We miss you very much and you all are on our minds and in our hearts!

Delilah Harvey

Sunday, March 2, 2014

"Si ou konnen'm"-- If you knew me

   Just a few notes, especially from our time on the road:

   What will really knock you out about the conditions in Haïti is the
seeming endlessness of the poverty. Starting in Port-au-Prince, we
rode by 4x4 over uneven, unpaved, steep, and winding roads for five
hours, and made our way to Petit Goave. On our way through
Port-au-Prince, we were solicited by beggars, cripples, street
vendors, and children simply looking at us. In isolation, the number
of people who seemed to rely on traffic for their occupation wasn't
really concerning, but knowing that there are 2.5 million people in
the Port-au-Prince area, none of whom seem to have a more secure
source of income, is staggering. My father asked on our trip to the
Philippines, "How much can this vendor make selling that"? In Haïti,
aside from selling water in idling traffic in the heat, and what seem
to be hot dog rolls, people will jump on your car and begin wiping the
dust off, holding on as you start to lurch another few feet forward.
This city and this way of life goes on as far as the eye can see on
either side, into the hills, and went on for almost four hours. So,
what opened my eyes the most was the sheer number of people living the
same way as the people in tent towns and who burned refuse on the side
of the road. We had a delicious dinner at La Bel Acueil.
   Today, we had a sweet breakfast at our hotel, with mango, spaghetti,
white bread and butter, scrambled eggs with peppers, juice, and
coffee. After breakfast, we discussed our expectations for ourselves
and for our leaders. We did an icebreaker where Michelle Kim had us in
stitches. Afterwards, we spent time between the pool, showers, and
journaling. After loading up the cars, we set ourselves for the two
hours ride over crazily unpaved roads over incredible mountain passes.
We made two stops, one for cassava 'bread', and one for a 'bathroom'
break, stretch, and a view.
   We arrived in La Fond, unloaded the cars, and had a meditation in a
beautiful clearing with a view of the near clouds, and the valley far
below. We then had a delicious lunch, before our tour of the school
and the houses we will be wiring for two lightbulbs each. We were
joined by two sort-of friendly dogs and a cadre of children. We walked
for about 3 hours, greeting homeowners with a "bonjou" or "bonswa,"
sometimes accompanied by energetic hugs. We were also gifted with many
ripe oranges and grapefruits, and the promise of yams for later in the
week. Came back to camp to yet another beautiful and copious dinner,
with rice and beans, pasta gratine, fish, a spicy coleslaw, and
plantains. Now, we are engaged in the second furious round of UNO.

All our love to those at home.

Best, Isabel N.

March 1, 2014


   It is hard to really put into words what we've seen so far in our
trip. Traveling through the capitol of Port-au-Prince, it was quite
prevalent of the size of the need that Haiti has. There are buildings
that are not complete, trash left in the streets, people in need in
the streets, and roads that had little to no pavement. We traveled 2-3
hours each day through these roads in order to reach LaFond. These
roads to LaFond were really just dirt paths wide enough for a car to
pass through. Once we got to LaFond, we settled in and began our
orientation to the area. Emma Brown '16 said that being in Lafond is
literally like being on cloud 9 because of the clouds that constantly
are present around us.  All of the people in LaFond live in one room
houses where that one room is their living room, bedroom, and dinning
room. These houses are barely larger than a common living or dinning
room in an American house. Despite this, the appreciation for us being
here is immense. Madame Venante, who lived in town, was so
appreciative of the idea alone that she continually gave us hugs and
thank you's for what we will do. "I thought it was sad that kids were
wearing ripped shirts and shorts. And when they told me that they were
cold, I just didn't know what to do, " Michelle '15 said. It is hard
to see these people, especially the children, from things that would
never happen in America or any other 1st world country. These children
often begged us to give them clothes that we had on us. Berthin, who
will be helping us on the trip, even left his home and family in Lakai
so that he could find work in Port-au-Prince. Tomorrow, we will start
the preparation for our project of installing the solar panels.
               -Liam Batson '15

Saturday, March 1, 2014

First night in Haiti

The group had a wonderful first evening in Haiti. They got to see different celebrations of the carnival and the upcoming Marde Gras. They enjoyed a great dinner of chicken, rice, beet salad and fresh grapefruit juice. The group is excited to head to LaFond today and will start updating the blog later today! Please call the office with any questions - 303-679-3412

Erin Lasky
Director of Operations

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Just Hours before our departure

Our bags are packed and we will have just a few restless hours of sleep before we board the van at 3 a.m. and head to the airport in Philadelphia...I am happy to report that the students raised almost all of the money we pledged, over $4,400 to build solar arrays for La Fond Belle, a small village north west of Port au Prince and donations are still coming in!  A mixture of nervous energy and excitement will probably keep most of us awake. What will be our first impressions of Haiti?  Has much changed since the earthquake back on January 10, 2010?  Has the aid that poured into the country following the disaster made a difference? What will the people be like...and so many more questions.  It is past the time I said I would stay up which means I am cutting into my 4 hour nap.  Bon soir et à bientôt.  Mme.  Johnson

Haiti Awaits with Open Arms!

Jacques and I (and soon Berthin) are ready to welcome our St.Andrew's students and teachers tomorrow for a tour of Port-au-Prince and overnight orientation in Petit-Goave ;)

Stay tuned, the skies are sunny, the fruits are sweet, and the community is ready with open arms!

-Chris & Jacques