Student Gives Up Break to Give Back

Warrenton Baptist Church travels to Haiti over Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving instead of spending time with my family, eating food and watching football, I went on a mission trip to Fort Liberte Haiti.

I, along with 17 others from Warrenton Baptist Church went to Fort Liberte for nine days. While we were there we spent our time at the orphanage, school, farm, and clinic. Even though we spent a lot of time working the most important thing we did was build relationships with the people in Haiti.

Haiti is a fourth world country located next to the Dominican Republic. An organization known as Friends of Fort Liberte started in 1973. The Warrenton Baptist Church has been part of this organization since 1995 and sends a group over every Thanksgiving break to serve the community there.

I’ve been going to Warrenton Baptist for nine years now, and every year I always hear about the Haiti Trip. My brother had gone on the last trip and I knew that this year I wanted to go. Before the group went to Haiti we had a series of informational meetings every Sunday to learn about what medication and shots we need to get, what we need to bring. We also were taught some conversational Creole, so that we could speak with some of the people once we got to Haiti. Before I left, I thought these meetings had prepared me for everything I needed to know about going to Haiti.

Even though Haiti is a fourth world country and many people face a daily struggle, they are genuinely the most grateful and kind people I have ever met. From the moment we landed, we were met with an overwhelming sense of positivity.

As the week went on we started to create bonds with the kids on the street and in the orphanage. The friendships I forged were established through human connection, not through a phone. Everyday after we finished working in the orphanages clinic, we would play soccer on the street with the kids. I never realized how much happiness soccer brought the kids. They were always wanting to play a pickup game, and when we had the time, their smiles were always so full.

Although Haiti brought me so much joy, there were some instances that really made me think about my life compared to life in Haiti. Since our bodies weren’t immune to the water in Haiti, we were required to brush our teeth and wash our hands with bottled water in order to prevent contracting any diseases. We also weren’t allowed to let the water run for too long. When taking a shower, we had to rinse off, turn the water off, put shampoo on, turn the water on, and then rinse off. It was also vital that we also put on lots sunscreen to help reduce the amount of bug bites. Although those changes to my daily routine made my day a little more complicated, I was reminded everyday about how lucky I am. When we first arrived in Haiti, there had been a heavy rainstorm. As we drove to Fort Liberte, you would see people trudging through inches of water, and many houses of the houses were flooded. None of my issues compared to that.

We experienced and saw many sad things while we were there, but the overall experience gave way to many new friendships that I know I will always cherish. By the end of my trip, some of my group members and I decided to sponsor a child from Haiti. Our sponsorship will support that child through school and will also provide them with care packages from the US.
I never thought the trip would change my life as much as it did. If there is one thing I am sure about, is that I will go back to my friends and second home in Haiti.