It has been over a month since my team and I have arrived home from Haiti. The eleven day trip was very enriching. I now have a better sense of how fortunate I am to have a plethora of opportunities and resources at my disposal in comparison to the Haitian community. Furthermore, I feel as if I am now an even more understanding person having had this experience.

The trip was overall very emotional for me. I felt immense joy when the house that we built was completed and while participating in the ceremony that dedicated the home to the homeowner. Hearing the struggles that the homeowner endured over the last two years made all the hard work, sweat, and muscle-aches worth it! To give the man, who previously felt helpless, a home was very gratifying. I am fortunate enough to have been a part of that moment when a new and positive chapter began in his life.

While there were many instances in which I felt satisfaction and bliss while I was in Haiti, there were many instances when I felt the opposite. Sorrow was often what I felt when I looked around and saw the unhealthy living conditions of many of the people living in Jacmel. People would be bathing in a river while others, only a few meters away, would be washing their cars and urinating in the water. Similarly, their was little consideration for trash disposal and trash could be seen everywhere, often with pigs digging through it for a meal. Having an interest in the medical field, it seemed like almost everywhere I looked, I could see the negative medical implications that could potentially result from the conditions.

Haiti, looking past the rubble/garbage, is a beautiful country. I have never seen such natural blue water like I saw when we hiked into the mountains. For the sake of preserving the country’s beautiful surroundings and protecting the welcoming Haitian people, it is my sincere hope that the country can manage itself more effectively in the future.

I went into this experience realizing that I would not be able to help every single Haitian. My goal, instead, was to make a positive difference in the life of at least one individual. Looking back, I realize I have exceeded my goal. My team and I have not only made a difference in the life of the homeowner, but for all of the children we played with at the four orphanages we visited and the individuals that received our water filtration systems. My team and I made an undeniable difference in the lives of many that we encountered in Haiti. What more could we have asked for?

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