There are some things that I have figure out over the years about my self, i love lacrosse and being involved in competition, I will do just about anything to learn something new, and most importantly I am never really satisfied. When a friend was talking to me about ASB I knew I had to get involved and when I read the Haiti program description, I knew that this would not be something that would end when I walked off the plane. Immediately after I filled out my application I began researching Haiti, looking at pictures reading articles about the earthquake. A few issues seemed to continue to keep resurfacing, the lack of infrastructure on the island, the lack of food and price of education; then I came across some information on the cholera crisis. I began to read fact after fact about the lack of access to clean water and its effect on the community. I knew I had to do something and with my background in engineering and filtration I knew just what it was. I applied to Lafayette’s Grand Challenges program to build a water filtration system for people in Haiti with a few of my friends. After being accepted into the ASB program, then awarded a grant to build my system I was ready to go.
When we boarded the plane I felt prepared. Between my GCSP research and the preparation through ASB I thought I had a good mental image of what I was getting into but really, I had no idea. All of the photos you see on the internet when you google Haiti are not far off. Even a year out from the earth quake people were still living in tents. There were no traffic lights, houses and structures were still deformed from the earth quake, people everywhere carrying water or piled on trucks going about their daily tasks, even in our compound we had a limited water source that had to be trucked in. Everything that people said about a third world country came to life but no one really warns you about what is the truly amazing part about Haiti- the people. The optimisim and hapiness that these people have is just inspiring. They are pleased with the simplest things. One of my most fond memories of the trip was visiting a boys orphanage one afternoon. Somtimes getting motiviated to visit the orphanages in the afternoon was difficult after a morning of hard labor in the sun and on this particular day it was especially hard. A few of us grunted and got on the truck, it went normally we taught a lesson on how to say colors in english, then we went outside and played with soccer and kick balls we had brought with us. The boys were so excited and they were having an amazing time until the soccer ball got kicked on the roof-the boys were pretty upset since there was aboslutely no access to the roof unless you scaled the building-which is exactly of course what I did, i climbed the side of the wall and got the ball. When I threw the ball down just seeing the faces of the children made the terrifying attempts of getting of the roof worth it. Just a soccer ball made them smile from ear to ear. This is the kind of spirit and simplicity you never see in the states- and man was it amazing.
I had a lot of eye opening experiences when I visited Haiti. I have brought the cause home by collecting cleats for an organization called “Goals Beyond the Net” from our athletic department and have been continuously raising awareness about the realities of the water conditions through my GCSP project. As I soon will embark on my second trip to Haiti, I can never express the amount that the ASB program has done for me and its role in inspriring me to just keep helping.
For more informtion on my project please email me or visit this link: http://sites.lafayette.edu/grandchallenges/this-years-winners/