I wasn’t expecting to love Jeremie, Haiti as much as I did. When we were packing up to go back to the United States, I’ll be honest – I didn’t want to leave the place that had changed my life. It was sad and difficult to say goodbye to the people there, as well as the people from the parish who traveled with me. We developed new friendships and made lots of good memories.
We started off our week by working at the Tek4Kids St. Francis School of Technology: painting, putting desks together, sanding, etc. We got to meet some of the Tek4Kids workers and teachers while we worked and enjoyed talking with them. It was a lot of hard work, but the students were so thankful. It was interesting talking to them since many of them were my age and though we were different in some ways, we had some similarities, too. It was humbling when they told me they liked to study and wash clothes “for fun.” But they liked to joke around, too, and I was ecstatic to find one of the students listening to Justin Bieber one day.
We also visited some of the schools and an orphanage. The minute we arrived, the kids surrounded us with huge smiles, hugs and wanting to hold our hands. They are so sweet. It seems like that is how everyone is in Haiti – always smiling, never complaining, even though some don’t have much.
Sometimes Gary and Cathy took us on little detours, like visiting the beach and ocean (which I had never experienced before – it was incredible!). We also went into the country to see life there. I went to a hospital and absolutely loved it, even when I saw some of the sad situations. We seemed to bond easily with the people there and also among our group. It was awesome!
It sounds cliché, but this trip really did change my life. It opened my eyes to things I had never seen or thought of before. The sights in Haiti are just beautiful, too, despite the country’s hardships. I plan to go back one day, because I loved it there. Haiti stole my heart and still has it! I can’t wait to return and see the kids’ smiling faces again.
— by Allison Schroering, one of a group of nine Tek4Kids volunteers from two local parishes (St. Raphael and St. Celestine) in Southern Indiana who recently traveled to Jeremie, Haiti