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  • 223 Clover Street, Worcester, MA 01603
  • (774) 495-0511
  • Haiti

Laila – From the Philippines to Haiti

I was with Project Nourish in Haiti for the first time a few weeks ago. I was tasked with taking photos of the students, school, and community. I really enjoyed hanging out and interacting with the kids which included some hiking and I introduced some Filipino games. There’s nothing more joyous to do in a new place than spending time with the kids. I find it fascinating to be in a world of children, aside from being innocent and vulnerable, you find genuine life in them. You get to learn what kind of parents, relatives or friends they have, what their culture is like, etc.

I love how accommodating and friendly Haitians are. They are funny like Filipinos!  People who know me know that I love homemade peanut butter. Haitian homemade peanut butter is the best! Haitians love to show you around. We went hiking to the mountain and caves.  I enjoy hiking back home, but I do it at dawn to see the sunrise and to avoid the heat of the sun. In Haiti we did it in the middle of the day!

Aside from the fact that it was my first time to travel to Haiti, it was my first time to witness destruction during a street protest. When we were in Port-au-Prince, I saw people in the road who were running towards safety, vehicles and tires burning, and trash everywhere. I’ve travelled to dangerous places but I’ve never seen real action like what I saw in Haiti.

The most inspiring for me was the children and the PN work ahead of them. There are so many things to do out there and the need is great! It’s quite significant that there’s more to life if we only step out of our comfort zone. Concerning poverty alleviation (in Haiti), we must have a forward-thinking approach to gain knowledge about what is happening and about the challenges of other organizations that we can try to avoid; being able to see the situation on the ground will make you think there’s so much to work on and at the same time it is saddening. Especially in Haiti where the mindset of people needs to be opened for a paradigm shift.

I’m impressed with the staff of Project Nourish because they can all speak the language fluently. The ability to speak the local language makes building relationship with the locals easier.  The PN staff immerse themselves in the community by participating in community activities. For example, when we were walking at the beach, Paul saw the people catching fish and he joined them in pulling the nets. The people seemed to love that.  We stayed at the community where the locals live during the trip. We didn’t stay in a hotel or any fancy accommodations.   Aside from their skills and knowledge, for me what makes PN effective in working with the poor in Haiti is how they live, speak, and work like a local. At the end of the day, it’s all about our relationship with the people that we work with that counts!

I would definitely go back! I would love to do some work that involves children. Something that would impact the mind of the children so that the future generations will benefit.

On our way to our accommodation in Neply from the airport, we saw Velouse and her daughter sitting on a bench with other people. Pastor Karl and I went out from the car to say hi to Velouse and her daughter. When we talked to them, we learned that Velouse’s daughter had an injury from a fall. Pastor Karl asked if they had her daughter’s arm checked or if they applied any treatment to it. Velouse said they did not do anything.  Pastor Karl and I inspected the right arm of the girl and we both agreed that she needed medical attention and was casted. After two days, we brought the child to the hospital where she received treatment. It was interesting to me because what if Pastor Karl did not take the girl to the hospital? Maybe her injury would get worse. I thought, how many children are out there waiting to receive medical care? How many children are out there suffering because nobody found them and provided the help that they need?

I thought I have seen the worst of poverty after working with the poor in the Philippines for more than a decade. But nothing could have prepared me for the poverty that I saw when we arrived in Port Au Prince. I was trying hard to hold my tears while thinking that no human should live like this. I am so thankful for the privilege to see the work of Project Nourish in Haiti. It has challenged me to continue stepping out of my comfort zone and following where God leads.