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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Crossing into Haiti


Dec. 28th

Crossing into Haiti

Today we traveled from the Dominican Republic to Cap-Haiten. The day was packed with new and eye opening experiences. The morning began with a great breakfast at the hotel and then we loaded our luggage to the top of the bus for our trip to the border and then to our hotel in Haiti.

Loading the luggage was quite the process however two very talented Dominican men with the aid of Branly, Allen, Logan and Matt made the task look easy.

Our first stop was a grocery store in Santiago. The produce section was outstanding. I have never seen carrots, cucumbers or peppers as big and fresh as I did today! As we waited to check out we didn't go unnoticed by the friendly workers...It is very interesting how outgoing, friendly and nice their culture is.

Lunch was stop number two about an hour later. We ate a very nice little road side place. I had fried goat and rice along with some great fresh peppers! The class decided to split all of the food we ordered and quickly learned our eyes may have been bigger than our stomachs! We couldn't come close to finishing it all.

On our drive toward the border we saw a great deal of rice fields. I spotted about five John Deere 1165 Combines used for harvest- one of which had tracks! Other agriculture that we saw were a lot of  plantain fields and some patches of corn. The livestock included goats, cattle, chickens that all seemed to be roaming without fences.

About forty-five minutes passed and we came to the border town. It was a free market day which made for a very busy time. Free market days happen on both Monday's and Friday's in border towns. It is when the Haitians and Dominicans can cross the border without a Visa or any charge. Many Haitians take advantage of this however the same cannot be said for Dominicans' crossing into Haiti. The Haitian's use the day to buy supplies for families such as food, clothing, etc.
The border process was one I won't forget. I am glad that we have folks on the trip  that are well connected with officials to help us safely and efficiently cross the border, most important safely.

Our first stop in Haiti was at a Heifer International Milk Processing Plant called "Lèt Agogo." The plant brings in 150 gallons of milk a day. The cows in Haiti produce approximately one gallon of milk per day (compared to about 10 gal. per cow per day in the U.S.) The milk they produce is used in a program for students in local schools. The students receive the milk for nutritional needs. However the milk is not processed like we have in the U.S. Dr. Oliver took the educational moment once we were back on the bus to explain to us how the processes differed and what the possible short and long term side effects of unsafe pasteurization practices. I did try the milk though Dr. Oliver did not recommend my doing. I enjoyed the taste though I would have preferred it was cold. It had a very sweet taste to it in my opinion. I am not sick...yet... :/

The next stop- Cap Haitian! Our hotel is located in Cap Haitian. It was an experience driving through the city for the first time and seeing the business of the streets compared to the country side we had been in for the majority of our drive. Branly explained to us many of the things we saw in the city and how things had changed over time.

I am thankful for how well everything went today and looking forward to continuing to learn from those around me.

Hail Purdue,

Laura Donaldson

Dec. 28th

Crossing into Haiti

Today we traveled from the Dominican Republic to Cap-Haiten. The day was packed with new and eye opening experiences. The morning began with a great breakfast at the hotel and then we loaded our luggage to the top of the bus for our trip to the border and then to our hotel in Haiti.

Loading the luggage was quite the process however two very talented Dominican men with the aid of Branly, Allen, Logan and Matt made the task look easy.

Our first stop was a grocery store in Santiago. The produce section was outstanding. I have never seen carrots, cucumbers or peppers as big and fresh as I did today! As we waited to check out we didn't go unnoticed by the friendly workers...It is very interesting how outgoing, friendly and nice their culture is.

Lunch was stop number two about an hour later. We ate a very nice little road side place. I had fried goat and rice along with some great fresh peppers! The class decided to split all of the food we ordered and quickly learned our eyes may have been bigger than our stomachs! We couldn't come close to finishing it all.

On our drive toward the border we saw a great deal of rice fields. I spotted about five John Deere 1165 Combines used for harvest- one of which had tracks! Other agriculture that we saw were a lot of  plantain fields and some patches of corn. The livestock included goats, cattle, chickens that all seemed to be roaming without fences.

About forty-five minutes passed and we came to the border town. It was a free market day which made for a very busy time. Free market days happen on both Monday's and Friday's in border towns. It is when the Haitians and Dominicans can cross the border without a Visa or any charge. Many Haitians take advantage of this however the same cannot be said for Dominicans' crossing into Haiti. The Haitian's use the day to buy supplies for families such as food, clothing, etc.
The border process was one I won't forget. I am glad that we have folks on the trip  that are well connected with officials to help us safely and efficiently cross the border, most important safely.

Our first stop in Haiti was at a Heifer International Milk Processing Plant called "Lèt Agogo." The plant brings in 150 gallons of milk a day. The cows in Haiti produce approximately one gallon of milk per day (compared to about 10 gal. per cow per day in the U.S.) The milk they produce is used in a program for students in local schools. The students receive the milk for nutritional needs. However the milk is not processed like we have in the U.S. Dr. Oliver took the educational moment once we were back on the bus to explain to us how the processes differed and what the possible short and long term side effects of unsafe pasteurization practices. I did try the milk though Dr. Oliver did not recommend my doing. I enjoyed the taste though I would have preferred it was cold. It had a very sweet taste to it in my opinion. I am not sick...yet... :/

The next stop- Cap Haitian! Our hotel is located in Cap Haitian. It was an experience driving through the city for the first time and seeing the business of the streets compared to the country side we had been in for the majority of our drive. Branly explained to us many of the things we saw in the city and how things had changed over time.

I am thankful for how well everything went today and looking forward to continuing to learn from those around me.

Hail Purdue,

Laura Donaldson

Friday, December 28, 2012

Travel Day!


Hello All, 

Morgan and I started our travels with a 3am shuttle (on the 27th) to the Indianapolis Airport. After we arrived we set up camp by the American Airlines Ticketing Counter and began the task of securing room for the text books the class gathered in everyone's checked or carry-on luggae. The travel process went really well althrought the day. We had a five hour layover in Miami that gave us time to meet in our Teams and discuss the goals we have for our projects while we are in Haiti. 

I am on the CTEAD team that will be working with the technical trade school  during our time in Haiti. Our group wants to focus on building a stronger relationship with them as a partner so that we will be able to help them more in the future when supplying resources for class curriculum . We will also be working to have a better understanding of their current resources at the school and the student's educational backgrounds. Finally we will be facilitating a rain fall accumulation data keeping and record tracking that the EPICS Team at Purdue put together. After facilitating the lab we will work to understand what we can do to improve the lab material for future use. 

After meeting with our teams we took a quick dinner break and boarded the plane to Santiago, Dominican Republic. The flight went well we passed thru customs quickly and loaded onto our bus. When we got to the hotel we were welcomed with a tasty cold beverage and encouraged to relax. Our long day of travel ended with a wonderful dinner or Arroz con Pollo (Rice and Chicken) after we checked into our rooms.

 I am thankful The Lord was watching over our travels today and got (most) of the group to the Dominican safely. Our prayers are with Blue and Anthony as they finish there travels that were delayed due to weather and 
meet up with us tomorrow. 

P.S. I am posting this after a great breakfast at our first hotel. We have a three hour trip to the border and then will begin our joureny in Haiti! 
Hail Purdue, 
Laura
Creol Phrase of the Day: Alo, kòman ou ye? Hello how are you? 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Night Before Christmas... I mean... Our TRIP!

Hello Friends and Family!

I am writing you from the Hampton Inn by the Indianapolis Airport less than four hours from when Morgan and I will travel to the airport and meet the rest of the class and begin our study abroad experience!

It is hard to forget the reasons I am going with the Purdue Animal Science Department on this trip to Haiti. I remember very clearly the "glow" my friends returned with after Christmas Break last year. These friends were apart of the first trip to Haiti and began a wonderful partnership with the same groups we are working with this year. After hearing about their experiences I found myself jealous that I wasn't apart of the trip and told myself then if the opportunity came up I would take full advantage of it! The opportunity came to me after giving a last minute tour of the College of Ag to an admitted student. As I ended the tour I was talking about study aboard opportunities in our college and Dr. Russell overheard me and asked me to fill a seat on the trip for this year. I gave it little thought, called my parents, and signed up! I felt like God had his hand in me being in the right place at the right time and I couldn't let the moment pass.

I am looking forward to learning about the current state of Haiti first hand. From that I hope to learn ways that we as a department and class can continue to help our partners even after our time in Haiti. I know that I have been brought up in a life that many are not fortunate enough to have. I have two loving (still happily married) parents that have provided and continue to provide opportunities for my sister and me. I have never experienced hunger, the anxiety of not having a home, or the tragedy of a natural disaster. God has truly blessed my life and I am hopefully that I will be able to return his favors to me by paying it forward to others.

I would be put on Santa's Naughty List for next year if I told you I didn't have any fears after signing up...or even tonight- because I would be lying. For starters I am worried that this winter weather will present challenges in our travel plans. I am most worried that time will run out before we are able to build a strong understanding of the partner's needs. I do believe though that this will fuel each of us to focus and work diligently to make a great impact with the resources we have.

I am ready to begin building relationships with the students and faculty members both from Purdue and from our partnering institutions! 

Until next time...
Orevwa (Goodbye)
--Laura Donaldson

Creole Phrase of the Day: Mwen pa konprann (I don't understand)
Hello from the Hampton Inn - Indianapolis!

One of the reasons I wanted to participate in this study abroad program to Haiti is because it is going to make me uncomfortable. Yes, a #SaysNoOneEver could go with this statement, but it really is true for me. I believe that staying inside of one's comfort zone will never allow for growth or maturing. My biggest comfort zone, or comfort bubble as I like to call it, is living in the United States. Here, I am blessed with so much that I don't even see those things as blessings; instead, I often just expect them. Here in America, I am spoiled, sheltered and most of all, comfortable. This is about to change...and I'm so excited about it!

My comfortableness has already been tested with this 'blizzard-like' weather. Myself and another participant are staying in a hotel near the airport to make transit to IND easier at around 4:00 AM tomorrow. I'm praying that our 6:30 AM flight to Miami will not be canceled. I'll take a major delay any day...just not a cancellation. Even before the weather, I was a tad bit uncomfortable when packing. See, I switched things up a bit. My 50 lb. checked bag contains nothing but things to give away at an orphanage we will be visiting in Haiti - t-shirts, hygiene products, toys and food. My 25 lb. carry-on bag has my own clothes and personal items for the trip...and it's not even all the way full. This is so not me! I am an extreme over packer, so I'm definitely worried about if I'll have enough of my "stuff." Again, another one of my spoiled thoughts.

Speaking of visiting the orphanage, I believe that this could very well be the 'agenda item' of the trip that I am most excited (and nervous) about. Though I'm not personally a big fan of kids, I feel that this could change after visiting the orphanage. That visit in itself could really be a life-changing experience. I'm one who begins with the end in mind, therefore, I can hardly wait to see how our minds, perspectives and hearts have been changed upon arriving back to IND on Friday, January 4th.

Until the time that we do safely return to the good ol' U.S. of A., please stay tuned to this blog to be up-to-date on our travels, safety and reflections.

Best,
Morgan D.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holiday Greetings.  I am very excited to be joining this group of students on our exploration of how to build stronger relationships with our partners and to live and serve others in another culture.  The planning for this class began while we were with last year’s students in these same projects with these same hosts last January.  We learned that we want to focus more on learning from our hosts Ewadly Estil (Northern Director of Heifer International Haiti),  Gedeon Eugene (President of the Université de Anténor), and Jean-Claude Pierre-louis; (Director of the Centre technique d’entreprenariat agricole et de Développement).  We will learn that getting to know and understand people better is essential to providing meaningful benefit.

We could not be doing this program if it wasn’t for the home-town connections of Branly Eugene and Blucher Menelas and their life-long friend from youth, Allan Alexandre.  Dr. Oliver and I are developing our own network of hotel managers, transportation personnel, and hosts but feel well managed and supported by these three Cap Hatien natives.
We are now ready to meet you all in Indianapolis or Miami and depart on our journey.  My hope for each of us is that we come home knowing more about ourselves and our place in serving others as a result of our experiences.  Know that Dr. Oliver and I take this responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of our students very seriously.  We are truly thankful for you allowing them to join us in this experience.  We will endeavor to have every student posted regularly on this blog, so follow our experiences and feel free to join in the conversation.  Happy Holidays.