UUSC is excited to be partnering with the Unitarian Universalist Association on a joint volunteer trip to Haiti for youth and young adults, August 20–27. In the posts below, two participants share their first impressions.
The following post was written by Ravenna McGuire on Sunday, August 21, about the group’s drive through Port-au-Prince.
Our group left the Palm Inn, near central Port-au-Prince, in three white vans. We were silent, our eyes glued to the windows as our convoy passed opulence virtually on top of devastation — high walls guarding tennis courts next to piles of white rubble. Winding through neighborhoods and makeshift refugee camps, we made a left and came upon the crushed National Palace. Of the three majestic white domes, one has caved into itself, one has broken into massive shards like a giant shattered teacup, and one is completely gone. Today marks almost exactly 18 months after the catastrophic earthquake shook Port-au-Prince, lifting it into the air and then shattering its foundations. Entire university classes were lost — if the third-years were in the basement, the third-years were killed. The National Palace faces the Champ de Mars, where large statues of Haiti’s heroes now tower over hundreds of tents. I kept imagining the U.S. Capitol dome and what it would mean to Americans to have one of our most recognizable national symbols left in disrepair for a year and a half. It just seems so unfair, in a country where so much has been taken, that this symbol of great pride would remain in pieces as well.
The following post was written by Jessica Hallock on Monday, August 22, after the group’s Sunday arrival at the headquarters of the Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP).
What I think is pretty nifty is all the programs around food that are happening here. See, part of what MPP cares about is food sovereignty. So what we’ve been eating on this program — our lettuce, beets, and carrots — is all locally grown and organic. For dinner, among other things, there’s been goat meat. Even some of our trip’s vegetarians have tried it, since it’s free range and ethically raised. And beyond that, there’s products being produced for sale, made from these local ingredients. We had MPP peanut butter and mango jam this morning (and were assured that we could take some home), and we keep hearing about the facility to dry mangos for sale.
View photos from the service trip!