In years past, when I thought of traveling to a foreign country, I pictured myself relaxing on an exotic beach, or staying in a five star hotel. Though some people may have an experience like the one I have just described on their trip, my experience on my first foreign trip was very different. I was not on a beach, I was in a jungle. And I was not staying in a five star hotel; I was staying in hot, old church in Bois De Lance, Haiti.
My trip to Haiti was all about overcoming obstacles. The living conditions in Haiti are deplorable! The children had only huts to survive in, little food, and most children did not even have shoes to wear. It was a challenge for me to adapt to the living conditions during my trip. Also, it would be the first time that I had left my family to go to another country. Though there were many challenges in Haiti, I overcame them, which made my trip to Haiti one of the most memorable weeks of my life
During my junior year in high school my church started announcing that a group would be going to Haiti. I felt the Lord leading me to go so I talked about it to my parents. They were naturally apprehensive at first, but thankfully they allowed me to go. I would be going with a group of 19 others from my church and other churches through the organization Open Door Haiti. Everyone in the group had family members accompanying them except for me, which made it very challenging.
We left for Haiti early Wednesday morning, August 4th and arrived that afternoon in the city of Bois De Lance. We would be staying in a church provided by the Open Door Haiti organization. The next three days we would be holding a Vacation Bible School for the children. At the school we would make crafts and play games with the children. At the end of each day every child received a free meal of rice, beans and chicken. We came to Haiti expecting to do the Vacation Bible School for three days with 250 children each day; however we had over 500 children on Thursday, and on Saturday we averaged over 600 children, so we only had enough supplies for two days.
My role in the Vacation Bible School was to be the leader of the Red Team which put me in charge of younger children. Being the Red Team Leader was very challenging because there were nearly 70 children in my group ranging from 9 months to 3 years old. I worked through the difficulties of responsibility for the younger children and also challenges of a language barrier. My group was awarded Most Outstanding Group for the entire Vacation Bible School.
Though I loved spending time with the children in Vacation Bible School, the most memorable part of the trip was feeding these Haitian children. For many of the children who received food, this was their first meal in days! I paid $1,200 to Open Door Haiti for this trip, and most of that money was used to feed the children.
In conclusion, leaving my family and going to Bois De Lance, Haiti was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but what I did in Haiti for the children made it worthwhile. I consider going to Haiti one of the most memorable trips of my life because of the obstacles I overcame, and because of what I could do for others less fortunate than myself.
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