When I first learned that I would be going to Haiti, I had many emotions. I was super excited and apprehensive, not knowing what to expect. I was going with a great group of women and my mom, which I knew would be extra special. I had been working with Be Like Brit for years for lots of events through my bakery and have also sponsored two children in Haiti for the same amount of time. By the time the trip came, I was super excited to see how beautiful Haiti was and to meet the children I sponsored.
I woke up in the morning ready to get to the airport early and get on the flight. We met Cherylann and the other women in the terminal and checked in six hockey bags full of supplies to bring with us on our trip. We boarded the plane and flew to Haiti. When I got off the airplane, I was excited to get to the orphanage. Nothing really prepared me to see the city of Port Au Prince – I had never seen so many people in my life just walking around and selling things. The driving there was way different than it is in the United States, and I decided that on the way back to the airport, I should sit in the back of the bus. (Haha!)
The orphanage is so beautiful and is so the land that it sits on. I could not believe the work that Cherylann and Len have done in a country stricken by poverty. I tried to take it all in – the running water, the irrigation system, the kitchen space, the medical room. Against all odds, they really brought to life the vision of Brit in her memory. Everything at BLB is done with intention. I loved listening to Cherylann speak of all of them and sharing breakfast, lunch, and dinner together.
Building the home for Mami was another experience that I couldn’t forget. It is amazing what a group of women can do when given a challenge. Admittedly, I had never built anything before but the men on site helping us were patient, kind and great with direction. When we presented the house to Mami, all she could do was praise God. It was beautiful and everyone had tears in their eyes. A home with four walls, with no electricity or running water, made the life of a woman in her late seventies who had never had her own mattress, let alone space before. This was so eye opening for me.
I learned so much about myself during my trip to Haiti. I am someone who grew up the only girl and youngest in my family. I was known as the “spoiled one” and have never gone without. When I saw how the Haitians lived and how thankful they were to just be able to feed their families day by day, it made me realize how much I had taken for granted. It was humbling and made me appreciate life more. I cried a lot, while I was there and when I got home to reflect on my experience.
If I am given the opportunity to visit Haiti again, I wouldn’t think twice about it. Meeting the two children that I sponsor and seeing how much they have grown over the years was one of the best moments of my life. I loved seeing the interactions between the kids, sitting in on one of their English courses and watching their monthly talent show. The love that the kids have in their hearts made me feel so full.