Hood College Students Return to Haiti for an Alternative Spring Break
For the second year, Hood College sponsored a trip to Borgne, Haiti, during the March 8 -16, 2013 spring break. Borgne is a mountainous community in the northern part of the island nation of Haiti. Its population is 80,000 and the majority of
families are scattered and clustered within the mountains surrounding the city.
Hood College works with a nonprofit organization Haitian Outreach Pwoje Espwa (www.hopehaiti.org) to provide service to this remote, isolated, and poor community.
This year Hood students- Drake Halpern, Elaheh Eghbal, Jessica Morales, Greg Eyler, and Fabiola Jean-Louis were joined by alum Dr. Peter Cha and his wife Sandy, Assistant Professor of Economics Michael Coon and Provost Kate Conway-Turner and her daughter Jameela Conway-Turner to spend a week learning about this complex and struggling country and to participate in service learning activities. During the trip, Dr. Cha, a Hood College alumnus and local dentist, and his wife Sandy, a dental hygienist, provided a dental clinic for the community. Working long days and tackling multiple dental problems, they served 94 members of the Borgne community during that week.
Hood students also developed a mural for a local school, providing a bright and an educational backdrop for an elementary class. Students also strategized on how to address some of the many infrastructure needs that exist for Borgne schools. The community of Borgne has never had a library, and preceding the trip Hood students engaged in a book drive to provide holdings for the library. The Hood group inspected the space that will be renovated for the library and left books to begin the first holdings for the library.
Additionally, the Hood group visited a site of the Mobile Teacher Program. This is an early education program that provides education to 4-6 year olds that live in remote and extremely improvised areas. Many of these children were orphaned by the earthquake of 2010. Hood students engaged in an enrichment project at one of the 16 MTP sites and made bracelets for students participating in the Margot site.
Other highlights of the week include: a trip into the mountains to set up the revolving Mobile Clinic where students were able to observe the difficulties and the rewards of providing health care to remote populations; a visit to a plant nursery where health workers struggle to find the funds to continue providing plants to families as a food or income source; an examination of how households create potable water for use by their families; and an engaged conversation with a youth group that is attempting to find income sources within the Borgne community where there are poor roads, few jobs, inadequate fresh water, no electricity and a host of social concerns.
In the moments when students were not learning about Haiti or engaged in projects, they found themselves playing soccer with the local children, observing the cultural patterns of Haiti or documenting their trip with photographs. Several students were "magnets" for children and as they walked the miles to and from sites, we were often followed by curious children who flocked around the Hood troop.
The Hood Haiti group is already planning the next trip in March of 2014 and we invite members of the Hood community to join us in supporting this community by participating in fundraisers or in joining us on our next trip.
View Pictures Here