Bon Bagay en Ayiti!

And so it begins…

Another year, another summer of OG trips and another new faraway place to call ‘home’ for a few months. But this summer, its a little different. This summer, instead of criss-crossing one or even several countries and working with a variety of partners, I’m lucky enough to be based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti for the entire time working with Haiti Communitere.

Why Haiti? Why now? I’ve been asked that question dozens of times in the past few months. My answer: Why not? Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, has survived colonialism, occupation, violent dictatorships and natural disasters that we’re all too familiar with. So that’s the why. As for the why now, we at Operation Groundswell are always looking to expand our own horizons and offer our unique programming in new regions. Immediately after the January 2010 earthquake, people kept on asking us why we didn’t have a trip to Haiti. Safety and security are always our utmost concern but more importantly, we didn’t have the right partner in Haiti. After working at Pisco Sin Fronteras (PSF) with the Peru: Disaster Relief group last summer, we met Sam Bloch, the Executive Director here at Haiti Communitere, who said that if we thought PSF was cool, we needed to come down to Haiti. And so we did. And so began our programs in Haiti. This is the organic process of how all of our trips are created. Good partners, good projects and good country.

How do I know that Haiti Communitere is a good partner with good projects? Here’s why. Within days of a massive fire destroying HC’s workshop, donations flooded in from all around the world, thousands of dollars in equipment has been flown in from Miami, a konbit (community work day) brought over 50 young volunteers from Cité Soleil and the scrap metal is being sold to fund the new workshop. All in all, the plan now is to build back better. Just like Haiti’s reconstruction slogan, building back better at HC will involve the hard work and time of community members as well as international volunteers.

And that is why Operation Groundswell is coming. Steph and I are setting everything up and are eager to see our participants arrive in just over a week. We hope you’ll follow our progress throughout this journey as we have exciting projects lined up for our time here. But we’ll send an update with that soon enough.

Until then,

Team Haiti

Steph and Jonah stand in front of the Haiti Communitere gate with an assembled Ubuntu Block