Posts Tagged ‘Elevate Haiti’

Volunteer in Haiti: Leadership Education, Solar/Wind Projects, and Agriculture Infrastructure

photo: Elevate Destinations

photo: Elevate Destinations

I can’t believe how quickly the pages get torn off the calendar! Time races by, and now it has been two years since I was last preparing to lead a volunteer service trip to Haiti. The organization with which I traveled, and am dearly fond of, is Elevate Destinations, and their service trip Elevate Haiti is once again filling up with hearty souls. Be careful if you ask me if you should go–I’ll flat out tell you “YES”

My two trips to post-earthquake Haiti were both with Elevate Destinations, once as client in Jacmel, then as a co-trip leader in Cyvadier. This year’s trip is to an island just off the Southwestern coast, Ile-a-Vache. Every year, the organization teams with on-the-ground community-based organizations–the mandatory key to a successful volunteer program–and this year they will work with the Edem Foundation, extending that group’s commitment to Haitian youth and local community economic development.

As a volunteer, you’ll be spending time in various activities, from teaching English and Leadership classes for kids, installation of new agricultural equipment, and getting a solar/wind energy system up and running. While it sounds like you’ll need lots of expertise for these jobs, you will have everything you need with a willingness to put in sweat equity and keep a great attitude. There is also plenty of time built in for cultural interchange and genuine connection to the community, and some exploration of the island as well as Port-au-Prince upon first arrival, with expert local guides. This is the polar opposite of a touristy, canned experience, and the friends you make—both fellow volunteers and Haitians—will likely be with you for the rest of your life. The two trip leaders this year were clients on my last trip there (and have both been repeatedly and are far more Haiti savvy than I ever hoped to be) so I know you’ll be in excellent hands. Tell Nic and Tess I said HI.

The trip is in July…in Haiti…and yes, it’s gonna be steamy…and this experience will also fire up your heart in ways you cannot imagine. Check it out. If you have any questions, give a holler–but I warned you–my answer will be YES, you should absolutely go!

Elevate Haiti–Summer Service Travel Opportunity

CIMG3411If you’ve lingered a bit around this blog, you know that I have had some earth-shifting service opportunities to travel and volunteer in Haiti. The organization with which I volunteered following the devastating 2010 earthquake, and then returned with last year as a group leader, is Elevate Destinations.

If you’ve ever had the itch to get to Haiti and get busy, they have a new trip going this summer, July 28-August 5 (If you are super dedicated, there is a potential extension for a second week of service work). “Elevate Haiti” puts a particular focus on sustainability and supporting local organizations on the ground–this way the mistake is never made (as too many voluntourism groups do) of providing “top down” charity. Nope, with Elevate, you are in service to the local partners–even when they do things in very different ways than you might. It is folly to try and impose our sensibilities–we actually don’t know better–and on this trip you are fully immersed, living and laughing and sweating (oh boy the sweating–you’ll love it. Your Bikram yoga class ain’t got nuthin’ on Haiti in July) with the local community. Your work will be largely youth-focused, working on education programs with the kids of the area (this year’s trip takes place on Ile-la-Vache, a small island off Haiti’s coast) and there is also a community-generated program, requested by the local community, that you will assist with (probably a construction or ecosystem project). There is plenty of downtime to see the slice of the world you are bettering, amazing Caribbean beaches being a highlight, and most importantly, bond with the Haitian kids and adults who are welcoming you. You start and finish your travels in Port-au-Prince, so you’ll get a tour and chance to see some of the capital as well. The earthquake was back in the beginning of 2010, and yet there are still so many displaced people living in tent villages–so much infrastructure has so far to go, but you’ll be overwhelmed with the inspiration you discover among your new friends.

Seriously–explore the website and try it on in your mind–see if it feels like a fit. If you have questions, don’t hesitate getting in touch with me directly, and reaching out to the folks at Elevate. They are Boston-based, so their time schedule likely aligns at least somewhat with yours for a call or call back. I had two great friends join me last year, plus all the friends I’ve made there (always a small group of a dozen or so, so you’ll get to know people and establish lifelong bonds with your fellow volunteers, too), and we can all tell you that you will not come home the same. That’s a promise. You want that change.

Home From Haiti

The most amazing experience–working with Let Haiti Live in Cyvadier on the southern coast of Haiti with an amazing group of volunteers and the local community that welcomed us more warmly than we could have ever hoped.

Here is how we spent our mornings, bucket after bucket, day after day…