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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Better Late Than Never!

By: Erica Doyle

I remember prior to my trip to Haiti many people questioned my decision. After all, when many students think of studying abroad, going to a third world country is not their ideal destination. For me, however, it was. Looking back on my trip I am 100% positive that signing up for this course and traveling to Haiti was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

Traveling into Haiti and seeing the city, Cap-Haitien, for the first time really humbled me. Our bus went from everyone chattering happily to silence and words of shock. I was very humbled as I looked out our bus window and realized that places like this really do exist. It is so easy for me to get caught up in my everyday life where my only worries are school related and petty, that I forget that there are real problems people are facing throughout the world. For the first time my eyes were truly opened to the real problem. I was there as a witness, immersed within it all, and it was unavoidable. I knew that within the next week I would become more aware of the problems this country faces and grow and discover who I really am and what matters in my life.

As the week progressed, I did change and I noticed many of my classmates did as well. We all witnessed a great deal and accomplished a lot. We became closer as friends and built relations with students and faculty at the university and other schools. Everyone including me stepped outside of his or her comfort zone for an entire week. In my mind, I feel that I became more patient and comfortable with the people around me. Even coming back to Indiana, I feel that I am more patient and thus far have not gotten caught up with petty little things. I am glad that I had the opportunity to travel to Haiti with such a great group of people. By the end of the trip I did not want to leave. Life there was simple and many of the things that caused problems in my life back home didn't matter while I was there.

If I am ever presented with the chance to go back to Haiti and expand on the relations we started there, I would say yes in a heartbeat. When people ask me if I went on a mission trip I say no with a smile on my face. While those who go on mission trips help families build homes and provide them with necessities, we did so much more than that. It is just like the saying, "Give a man a fish, you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish, you have fed him for a lifetime." We went to Haiti to teach man to fish. We taught about agriculture, we listened to what their goals and plans were, and we worked together, forgetting about color and forgetting our backgrounds, as one. I am glad to say that what we did while down there has the potential to have so much more impact on that community that digging a well or building a house because in the end knowledge is the best gift one could ever give.

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