Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Hello from Haiti!

I have been here for almost 2 weeks, now. Because I feel like I have both too much and too little to say, I'm going to answer some of your questions.

1. How was training?

Training was great! We learned how the Quest program was started as a short-term volunteer program in the U.S. It has eventually evolved to what I am doing now, in Haiti!

Quest Orientation in College Park, Maryland.
These women are sisters of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, who started the Quest volunteer program in 1971.
The girl next to me is the other year-long volunteer, Aileen!

2. Was your town hit by Hurricane Isaac?

Fortunately, no! My town, Gros-Morne (pronounced "grow mourn" meaning "big mountain"),  is in the northern part of Haiti. Hurricane Isaac mostly hit the south. We did, however, see some twisted billboards and many destroyed fields on our drive from the airport in Port-au-Prince. 

Main road in Gros-Morne.

A view of Gros-Morne, which is home to about 30,000 people.

First day in Haiti!
We live in Kay Jezi Mari, or the "Jesus and Mary House"

3. Do you have flushing toilets?


4. Is it hot?


5. Like, really hot?


6. What have you been doing so far?

Aileen and I have Creole lessons every day for 3 hours. While they are of course useful, I think I'm learning more outside of the classes. 

We are also expected to "Live in Community." This means helping a lot around the house!
I have cut new table cloths, made lasagna, counted money, connected a scanner, put duct tape on loose cabinets, rearranged our "living room," counted out Croc sandals for school kids, tried to explain to a local artist how to make her basket handles more symmetrical, uncovered a bag of scissors for the school, and defrosted a freezer. This last one is no small feat, trust me. 

Defrosting the freezer.

We also like to go exploring. 

Walking to the Jesus and Mary school

A boy guiding us home from the river

But as for actual projects, those will be coming along with my Creole. So far they include:
1. Helping answer questions for a grant to build a kaptoj (a concrete covering for a spring of water that protects the water source and guides it towards peoples' homes)
2. Working with a scholarship program for girls that is funded by Mercy Beyond Borders. This includes looking over resumes for a new coordinator, planning interviews, helping plan a leadership program in December, taking pictures of the girls and editing their stories, and hopefully getting to know them!
3. Working with a women's group that embroiders for an extra source of income. So far the only thing I've been able to do for them is make copies of a business training presentation from Fonkoze

Gros-Morne's version of Kinko's.

6. Do you have a microwave?

No. We have a gas oven and stove, which you have to light with matches. Have you ever turned on the gas and then stuck your hand, with a lit match, down a hole in the bottom of your stove? It's scary. But I'm getting pretty good at it.

7. Where are your pictures?!

I admittedly have not been great about taking pictures, but here are 3 that I really like. If you want to see some good ones, check out Aileen's blog!

A presentation from the Jesus and Mary school teachers after their 3 weeks of training.
Lots of dancing!

Sister Pat offering a little girl something to drink.

Aileen after bravely eating a Haitian hot pepper.

And I think that is the best picture I could possibly leave you with.


  1. Oh, I am so jealous! Have fun Jen!!! And keep us updated with your inspiring words and pictures!

  2. Dear Jennifer:
    Well done. How wonderful and amazing. Thanks for bringing me to Haiti by looking through your window into Haiti. Cool.

    On another note: Can you ask Sr. Pat if she received my email about Al Joyner and I coming to visit November 29-30? And does she have Robert Murphy's email (the engineer guy), and Sorry so much, and does she want us to send the $1,000 for the teacher salary in Fon Ibo or bring it in December. And finally: I want to bring 20 December 15-18 to Gwo Mon. Is there room at Grepin Center for us? Okay, if do not respond to this then I know commenting on a blog is not the way to communicate. Peace, Roy

  3. Great to see you both and all the dear friends you are making! Prayers and love, Janice