Last month I traveled to Les Cayes, Haiti a small seaport town. Haiti is an extremely poor country, with a per capita annual income of around $400. Haiti is still trying to recover after suffering a devastating earthquake in 2011 coupled with their ongoing state of poverty.
This was my third trip to Haiti over the past several years, but my first to Les Cayes. I was pleasantly surprised that the three-and-a-half-hour drive from Port Au-Prince, the nations’ capital was on paved roads, having traveled many bumpy, rocky roads in other third world countries. Once we made it to Les Cayes, we got a good night’s sleep and prepared for a week of serving others.
Street in Les Cayes, Haiti
I was fortunate to lead a team of 11 men and women and together we completed several service projects during our time in Les Cayes. One of our projects included bringing hope to Haiti’s children. It’s been said that if you can reach the children, you can reach the next generation. More than 350 children showed up for our daily sessions!
Some of the many children who came to day camp
The team taught lessons on identity and self-esteem with the hope that by seeing themselves as more than they are right now, they will be agents of change and make a difference by breaking the cycle of poverty that has plagued Haiti for centuries. At the end of each day, each child was provided a small snack, and for many, it was the only food they received that day.
Children colored while learning life lessons
The team painted classrooms at a school. They removed old paint, scraped walls and cleaned and treated floors, and purchased enough paint and supplies to paint 23 classrooms. The school was also provided with an abundance of school supplies, jump ropes and soccer balls. The children had been using a deflated ball for years to play their favorite sport.
Sarah Hearn scrubs paint off floors
Working alongside Haitian carpenters, the team built benches for the community’s place of worship and provided funds to build more so those attending church would not have to sit on the floor during service. After a week well spent, we headed home and are already planning to return next year to lend not only a hand, but a hand up.
Finally, I must add that among the many reasons that I chose ARServices as my employer of choice is because they believe in helping humanity and are deeply committed to service and charitable giving. The encouragement that I received from the CEO, Mr. Jerry McCargo and the staff before and after my trip to Haiti was exceptional. It was a great trip and ARServices is a great place to work!