When we first landed in Haiti, we stayed at a hotel near the airport since it was late at night and traveling to our home for the week was safer in the daylight. The next morning, we woke up early excited to see the city of Porte-Au-Prince while we rode a school bus to Gallet-Chambon.
I was shocked by how the city looked untouched. It was like the city had just experienced the 2010 earthquake. There were buildings that were still demolished and others severely impaired just sitting there unscathed. I was also shocked by the lack of waste management; the city was shadowed by mountains of trash. Although the lack of organization in the city, Port-Au-Prince was buzzing with people and congested with traffic. There was a simple beauty in the mixture of it all. People going happily about their day regardless of the relentless reminder that they lived through a catastrophic size 7 earthquake.
Our team stayed at a ministries compound that included a doctor’s clinic, church, orphanage, and full amenities. We felt extraordinarily blessed to have access to running hot/cold water, generators for power, and wholesome food. Our week was jam packed with different initiatives from independent research, beginner business education, and consulting on start up companies. As a team we faced many challenges and unexpected encounters. But this made the trip even better than anticipated. We learned many key pieces that will move the HERD program into a new age that will provide continuous enrichment and better help the Haitians.
The most memorable part about our trip to Haiti was the impact the Haitian people left on each of us. Every person we got to meet was so genuine and heart felt. Their culture is centered around people and their family, rather than their individual identities. It was so interesting when you asked a Haitian to tell you about themselves, they always talked about what their family members did/who they were. They identify themselves with family rather than an individualistic ideal. As a culture they did not abandon family members, everyone was working together to survive. This was humbling because their family could be everything they had, yet they were still so happy. It was a little lesson our culture sometimes tends to forget. Haiti is one of the world’s poorest countries, but yet they have one of the richest cultures.