Written by Jennifer Erickson, a student at Cumberland University.
My body aches in strange and acute ways from the waist down…riding on the back of a pickup truck for four hours over roads that are indescribably bumpy will do that to a person. I have been in Haiti, specifically Pignon, for about 36 hours, and I have already walked more than I have back home in a month – maybe more. (I am admittedly really lazy though. Ha!) My hair, body and clothes are so heavily coated in dust that I don’t think a shower and clean laundry will help any…physically I am pretty miserable. HOWEVER, every other part of me is…ALIVE and HAPPY and extremely excited to go to bed – so that I can wake up and see what tomorrow brings.
There is too much to say about this place – I have been confronted with the most beautiful and joyful spirits, and also those that are so clearly consumed with desperation and hopelessness. A mile walk here will force you to witness layers of contradictions…I am excited to report that I have felt welcomed by the people here at nearly every turn from the very young which are plentiful, to the very old, which are few and far between, and I have already experienced an immersion into the Haitian culture that I did not expect I would get to experience – and definitely not on my first full day.
I could write pages about what has happened thus far, but I will leave that up to my classmates and fellow travelers who I am sure will have much to say over the next few days…for now, we want our families and friends to know we are safe, we are happy, we are well-fed (we have glass bottled coca-cola!) and we are loving life.
Here are pictures from the first 36 hours of the trip. Enjoy!
This is how the team traveled for 4 hours from Cap Haitian to Pignon. Riding open air through Haiti is breath taking. The team played a soccer friendly with the local soccer players in the area. Notice the wooden goals in the background. Team #2! As Sunday was International Women’s Day, the team attended a Valiant Women’s event at YAH, One of the Valiant Women from the event. Appolon Elysee, MH4H Financial Accountant and National Director of Youth Action Haiti, who runs the Valiant Women’s program.