As I write this blog, it’s hard for me to imagine that this time tomorrow I will be landing in Port au Prince, Haiti. This trip will be my third to the island, but also my first since graduating high school.
Over the next week I’ll be traveling to Boucan Carre, Haiti to work with the Haiti Outreach Program, a partner of She’s the First. I can’t wait to be back in the town. My first two trips to Boucan Carre literally changed the course of my life and I can’t wait to see what is in store for this week. The group I am traveling with will be working closely with Partners in Health to distribute medicine and preventative information about cholera to remote villages in the Artibonite River Valley.
Though school won’t be in session, we will also be catching up with students of the St. Michel’s Primary and Secondary schools to share with everyone here at She’s the First! STF really is going 360 degrees in 2011, and I’m so so so excited that Boucan Carre, Haiti will be one of the first stops in our work across the globe!
While I’m definitely excited about being back in Haiti tomorrow, this trip does come with some fears. If you follow the news, you may have seen that Haiti has been the scene of some pretty violent riots lately surrounding possible corruption in their election process. The situation seems to have calmed down over the last few weeks, but no one can say for sure what will happen next. Even though we’ve been planning to visit Haiti since this summer, our trip didn’t receive the official green light until Sunday night because of the safety concerns.
The uncertainty surrounding this trip has led me to think a lot about what our girls have to face every day in the schools STF supports. As Americans, we have the choice whether or not to visit a violent nation. We have been given the opportunity to step back and choose not to sacrifice our personal safety and security. At times it feels like a selfish choice. I am so excited to get back to Haiti, but I sometimes wonder if I’d feel the same way if I didn’t have a passport to send me straight home if the going gets tough. The girls we support don’t have the same luxury. For me, this is a week long mission trip. For the students at St. Michel, this is life.
This idea has completely shaken me up lately and inspired me to push even harder for girls’ education in 2011. True there might be nothing we can do to stop the violence in Haiti at this very moment — but we can absolutely ensure that the next generation has the resources to prevent it.
I’d like to end this blog with an early New Year’s toast. Since I won’t be in the country to pop any champagne (or wear the silver sparkly TOMS that Santa brought me), I ask everyone to raise a glass with me now and toast to education in 2011. She’s the First has had a rocking first year and we’re not slowing down. Cheers!
Katie is the graphic designer for She’s the First.