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Valerie McConnell: My First Trip

This post was written by Valerie McConnell, long-time Hope for Haiti Foundation volunteer and supporter.

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My first trip to Haiti. What an amazing experience! A dream of mine for longer than four years, finally a reality. Was it everything I hoped for? Yes, and much much more! Would I go again? In a heart beat. I’ve been part of a prayer team praying for Haiti for a long, long time. Getting to meet the people and see the places we’ve been praying for was exciting.

In Bainet — market day with all its buyers and sellers lining the street around the square, the hospital. One day they won’t have to go all the way to PAP for emergency procedures, and the property where one day a university will stand.

In Zorang√© — the clinic and next to it the building foundations where the birthing rooms will one day be, the school, and the soccer field…so much progress from the school rooms with the dirt floors. And the new church is beautiful…but needs benches…(hint, hint)…they had their first service this last Sunday and had to carry the heavy benches over from the school (hint, hint, only $75 a bench).

I was asked what my favorite part of the trip was…for my first trip, I’d have to say the driving around and seeing everything. Which is good, since this was such a short trip, it’s what we spent most of our time doing.

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The HFHF team took very good care of us and our driver was amazing. Navigating the mountain roads paved and unpaved, smooth and…er…not so smooth. Avoiding the motor bikes and brightly colored tap tap buses, overflowing with people and goods, on roads not always wide enough for two vehicles to pass. Not to mention the people walking along the side of the road, seemingly unaffected by all the horn blowing and close passes. Crossing through rivers, passing people washing motor bikes, clothes, and even roosters. Many places had rock dams built up in Vs to create deeper areas for bathing. Around every corner (and there were a lot of those) there was something else to see, beautiful vistas, goats, and cattle tethered out to graze. Small painted houses and buildings, blooming Bougainvilleas, and Mandavillas and other plants I’m not familiar with. Poverty, yes, people living in what to us are very primitive circumstances, certainly, but the country is beautiful and the people are hard workers and place a high value on education.

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to go back for a longer period of time and work with HFHF.