Brooke, a supporter and ambassador of House of Hope, wanted to share about her travel experience with our team. We would love for you to be inspired by her story and join a trip to Haiti!
I don’t know whose smile was bigger, Amy Fletcher’s (founder of PHOH) or the beautiful Haitian assistants and translators. This is my thought as I meet Amy and the Haitian crew for the first time in Haiti. She’s arrived with her husband, sister, and Kathy Fischer in tow, and we are all saying hello as we pack into the van for our first destination.
This is how my first trip to Haiti with Project House of Hope began. It was an absolutely beautiful January day in Haiti, and I immediately felt safe, happy and pleased that I’d come. Of course, for me, traveling to new foreign lands makes me feel so alive. This was my first trip to Haiti, and it was off to a great start.
I’ll stop here and explain that I’ve actually traveled to Haiti twice now with PHOH. My first trip in January 2015 was so amazing, that I HAD to go back as soon as possible. So I found myself back in Haiti this past June 2015. For my first trip, I raised money for my flight and expenses. Everyone was so pleased to donate, as my mission to meet, help and even teach yoga to orphans in Haiti touched everyone’s heart. In about 3 months, I raised $2,300 dollars and then was off to Haiti. For my second trip, I had vowed to use my tax refund money to cover costs, and dip into my personal savings to cover the balance. It was so worth it to me to spend this money on going back to Haiti to see the orphans, and to meet the newest additions. After my first trip, and getting to know the darlings in the orphanages (they will win your heart without even trying), I couldn’t imagine not going right back! In addition to spending time with the kids, I had the pleasure of being involved in many other projects. For example, teaching yoga to the Women’s Empowerment Group that PHOH has started. What fun to teach these ladies who had never even HEARD of yoga or meditation. (When we were done, they wanted to know right away when the next class would be.) I assisted with Goats for Hope, and the health and wellness fun run for the kids in the village. I also assisted projects such as: teaching ladies how to make home-made mosquito repellent, and how to sew with sewing machines (Having no sewing skills, I babysat while the other volunteers taught the sewing classes). I also assisted the dance teachers as they taught the orphans how do to tap and ballet. I taught yoga to kids at a local school that is in desperate need of assistance. And, to top it off, all of the people I interacted with had a big smile and were so kind and as helpful as possible. I’m talking from the hotel staff, to the translators, to the leaders in the churches, and beyond.
Admittedly, I’m well traveled and have been to several developing nations, so not much shocked me or was brand new to me. So, it took no time for me to fall into a rhythm each day. For a traveler new to developing nations, it may take a little more adjusting, but I know Amy and her whole crew do their very best to make new travelers feel comfortable.
I could go on and on about each of my trips, but I know blogs are supposed to be short enough to not lose people’s attention. Let me end with a few final points. What made me feel safe while I was in Haiti? First of all, Amy has been to Haiti countless times and speaks basic Creole to meet your needs around town, at the orphanage, and at the hotel. The translators that PHOH uses have incredible English & patience. They can assist you in any way you need from cell phone function to changing your airline tickets, and so much more. Everyone has a smile and is ready for a good laugh. This made me feel right at home early on. Amy is like a mother-hen; she has her eyes on you all of the time and wants you safe at all costs. You are connected with PHOH people from the moment you step out of the airport upon landing, until you return to the airport to head home. Most of the trips are busy and filled with going here and there for projects, events, service and visits all day. But on occasion you get to relax at the beach or the pool, and it’s quite nice. The coastal area of Montrious is quite beautiful and something to behold. Maybe you’ll even get to drink from a freshly cut coconut!
by Brooke Nisbet
Yoga Teacher & Leader in Daphne, AL.