Return to Haiti

Last month I had the privilege of returning to Haiti.  I traveled with Restore Haiti and assisted in the delivery of school supplies for the children in the community of Morne Oge.  I was also honored to be asked to speak at the Party of Excellence, an annual celebration recognizing the very best students from the previous school year.  Like my first trip, the journey was amazing.  I worked in the feeding program, assisted with the construction of a family's home and spent many hours playing with the children in the community.

There were many differences in this year's trip versus the trip I took last summer.  Neither trip was better or worse than the other.  They were just different.  I liked that.  It made this year's trip seem like a whole new experience.  For starters, I didn't know anyone on my team.  I had spoken to our leader once on the telephone and met the team when I flew into Miami.  I was a little nervous to travel with a group of complete strangers, but we were friends by the end of the week.  Haiti has that effect on people.

Another awesome difference about our trip was that three of our team members were children all under the age of ten years old.  I was so impressed by how well the girls adapted and by how hard they worked.  They sorted school supplies with the rest of us.  They escorted children into the Party of Excellence and assisted with the feeding program.  They were absolute angels and it was so much fun to hang out with them. They helped the "homesick" feeling that I had from being away from my children and I miss them now that I'm home.  They also gave me the confidence that I think I needed to bring my children with me on a future trip.  The next time I go to Haiti, it will be with my children.

I felt more immersed in the community this year.  In my previous trip, we rode from the hotel to the church each day and then to dinner and the beach once.  We weren't able to spend an extended amount of time in the city and really take it all in.  This year, on our first afternoon, we set out from the hotel on foot.  We walked through the streets of Jacmel down to the waterfront.  I was impressed with the work being done there to increase tourism.  They were putting in a boardwalk with beautiful mosaic work and there were hotels being built.  It was very encouraging.

Some other fun firsts for me:  I snacked on a sugar cane.  I bought ice cream out of the back of a Suzuki Sidekick.  I rode on a moto with four other people.  :)  The moto ride was probably one of my favorite memories.  It wasn't my first Haitian moto ride, but it was my first with three kids and another adult.  The kids chatted all the way to the hotel.  They told me all about their aunts and uncles and asked about my family.  It was a fun time.

I spent time with both of my sponsor children on this trip.  During church on Sunday, I thought I recognized Rose Martine's aunt, but I wasn't sure.  Then she handed me a note welcoming me to Haiti.  Rose Martine and her family live near the hotel where we were staying.  Her aunt brought her to visit me at the hotel early on Monday morning.  I visited with them there a few times during the week, as well as during the feeding program.  It was nice to have that one-on-one time with them.  Rose's aunt speaks very good English and we were able to chat for quite some time.  I feel much closer to her and to the whole family as a result of this trip.  I was able to see Wendell towards the end of the week.  It made me so happy to see them both.

Again, I was in awe at the impact that Restore Haiti is making in that community.  The children are happy, healthy and educated, thanks to the work being done there.  People are in safe homes and the community is thriving thanks to Restore Haiti and the sponsors.  It is amazing to see the growth from last year to this year.  Imagine what the next year or the next decade will bring.

For more information on Restore Haiti, please visit

Here are a few of my favorite pictures:

The beautiful work being done on the waterfront of Jacmel

Walking the streets of Jacmel with my sugar cane 

Visiting my Haitian family at the hotel 

Our tap tap driver wearing the most awesome t-shirt in all of Haiti ;)

 I had the honor of escorting Clara, my friend's sponsor child, into the Party of Excellence

.My beautiful Haitian daughter Rose Martine in an outfit that my mother-in-law sent her


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