A Mission Trip to Haiti is gift in life for many reasons—time with my daughter, bonding with amazing companions, improved fitness and the inspiring attitudes of the Haitians we served.
You can see a 10-minute video about it, made by Jim Graham of Wilmette, here:
My daughter, Emma and I bonded with 29 other amazing people who felt called to serve in Haiti too. We worked hard in brilliant sunshine and got better workouts building a school and latrine than we would have received at most spas. We taught and learned from Haitian kids who were phenomenally appreciative of our simplest efforts.
One of our projects was laying a foundation for the new schoolhouse—hauling and mixing rocks, sand, water and concrete by hand—working side by side with Haitians. We knew that we only had 3 full days to complete the physically demanding task.
After 2 1/2 days, we still needed to mix and pour more than half of the floor.
The Haitians asked us to let them manage the final half day, and we worked more efficiently under their guidance. But by 4:30 p.m., we ran out of sand, I hit a physical and emotional wall, and we still had more than a quarter of the foundation left to complete.
Although I was disappointed, I yearned to limp back to the hotel to a cold Prestige beer (the Haitian favorite) and jump in the pool in all my clothes.
Instead, a dump truck appeared, dropped an entire bed of sand, and magic happened. Our 50-person group developed efficiencies, synergies and a work rhythm that allowed us to complete the floor in the golden light presaging sunset.
We celebrated with tears, hugs, awe and wonder.
I have never before loved a group of nonfamily members the way I loved the people who ended up drinking Prestige beer in the pool with me that night.
This experience taught me that anything, anything, anything can be done with the right group and the right attitude.
Make It Better wants to tell the stories of all the great mission work being done by members of our community. We will soon have a link for you to share your mission stories as well as photos. Check back soon.
If you’d like to support Kenilworth Union Church’s ongoing efforts in Haiti, you can with the purchase of a candle. Called Lumiere Haiti, the candles are $25 and available either at the church office, or by emailing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s other ways to help, too—join New Trier High School’s Haiti Walkathon 2011. You can support the efforts with a donation by clicking here.
Interested in more stories about local efforts in Haiti? Read about Glenview resident Susan Walsh’s journey here.
You can also help—contact the Little By Little organization.