After 90 days I have arrived safely back home in Canada and although I’m really happy to be home I already miss Haiti so much.
I am grateful for the amazing memories I made with all the incredible people I got to meet. My last couple weeks were filled with lots of laughing, dancing, singing and no shortage of tears.
I think one of the hardest things I’m going to have to do now is answer the question, “How was your trip?”
How do I possibly simplify the last 3 months in several simple sentences?
It may be impossible to encapsulate every moment, however there are main parts of my trip that I will definitely want to share with friends and family.
The first thing I probably will never stop talking about (no matter how much others may beg me and long after they’ve heard all the stories) is all the connections I made with so many different people. From the students and staff at ADECA, to the Engles and the Myrils at the guesthouse, and all the visitors encountered along the way, you have each become a part of my story and have were always there to support me and encourage me throughout my trip. I cherish the time we spent together and the inspiring stories and perspectives you graciously shared with me and although I probably cried too much when it was time to say goodbye it just shows how much of an impact you’ve all had on me. I refuse to think that my leaving is a definitive goodbye, but instead a to be determined see you later.
The second thing is a combination of all the small adventures or moments that stuck out during my trip. From smaller things like appreciating the sunset from the mountain, feeling proud as I picked up bits and pieces of creole, the kids laughing as they chased each other during duck, duck, chicken, drinking a nice cold Prestige at the end of a long day, the Advanced students getting super competitive on Game day, movie days with Leila, Daniel’s awesome dance moves, fêting with Megan, Danielle and Alex, and even just hearing one of the kids call my name from the playground. Then there were the bigger things like watching the steady development of the paper making project, learning all the dances with everyone at the school, watching the growth of the Advanced students to the point that they could run activities themselves, and seeing the growth in the younger students as well as they knew the songs off by heart. There are many more things I could probably list, but it was all these things combined that helped make my trip the experience that it was.
Lastly, is the amount of personal growth I have had after spending time in Haiti. I feel as though I’ve grown more confident in my abilities as a teacher and am also more open to new challenges and opportunities. I may be unsure about things at first, but my experience has taught me that I’m perfectly capable of leading a class and trusting that the content I’m providing for my students is interesting and helpful. Of course I still have a long way to go, but hopefully I can keep learning from experiences like this and become more confident, not only just in teaching, but in other areas that I choose to pursue as well.
I could not have possibly gotten luckier this summer. I never once felt unsafe, I always felt supported and did not regret a minute of my trip. Even after a four hour hike up and down a mountain I still had no regrets (probably much to the surprise of many friends and family). I may have been teaching as part of my experience, but my students taught me way more than I could’ve hoped for and I will always carry this life lessons with me.
I miss everyone terribly, but I’m excited now for what the future holds. I’m heading into my final year of my undergraduate degree and after that I’m not really sure where I’ll be, but I know there somewhere along the way Haiti will be a part of my story again.
So thank you to all those that made this trip possible I could not have done it without you, thank you to those with me during my trip who were a source of great encouragement, and thank you to everyone at home for welcoming me back. I am sad I had to leave Haiti, but glad to be back to continue making memories with everyone here at home.