Hello all! For those who do not know, I will be traveling to Haiti on a two week service trip with Partners in Development and Saint Joseph’s College. Two years ago I participated in the service trip to Guatemala, where I helped to build houses, work in the clinic, and work in the daycare program (check out my video from that trip here). It was truly a life changing experience. However, this year my mission will be a bit different.
For my senior capstone project, I will be creating a documentary about the Haitians in Cite Soleil with the goal of sharing their stories of struggle, survival, and hope. I will also focus my documentary on the success of PID in establishing multiple programs in which the people of Haiti can work their way out of extreme poverty. Finally, I will showcase various SJC students who participate in this year’s mission trip, and their experience embracing the poverty and the people of Haiti.
This documentary has been no easy task, as all aspects of its preparation and execution are falling on a one woman team. It has been a project that I have been working on all semester in my classes, through camera work, drone flying, editing, creating shot lists, writing interview questions, and more.
Already this project has helped me to step out of my comfort zone to become a better storyteller and journalist. The interviews I have conducted this semester have allowed me to learn more about my characters as people, and learn their motivations to go on this trip. I am very excited to meet the native people of Haiti and hear their stories of survival and hope in the poorest country in the world.
I am very excited for this documentary but I am also excited to experience the country in itself, and once again put my life into perspective of those who are less fortunate. My life was changed when I traveled on the service trip to Guatemala two years ago, and I am know I will receive a similar experience this year. I also have a more personal connection to Haiti, as this is the country where my boyfriend is from, and although he has told me stories of his life in Haiti, experiencing it first hand will give me a better perspective on the struggles he experienced growing up in Haiti.
I want to thank everyone who has helped finance my trip, including Partners in Development, my family, and friends, for this would not have been possible without your help! I depart for Haiti on December 26 and will return home on January 9. And then the editing process will begin! Stay tuned for updates of my project throughout the semester, and I can't wait to bring the final project to you in April!
Here is a quick preview of one of the stories I will be telling in my first documentary:
Even before the earthquake of 2010, Haiti has been one of the poorest countries in the world.
In 1791 a slave rebellion was launched by Jamaican-born Boukman against the colonists, and Haiti’s half million slaves revolted under General Toussaint L’Ouverture. In 1804, after a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the world’s first independent black republic. Yet while Haiti celebrated its long fought for independence, many countries reacted negatively to the Haitian slave revolution. Many countries imposed economic blockades on the country as they feared that the slave revolution would serve as a dangerous example to their own slaves. Thus with limited economic partners and limited international recognition, Haiti plunged into a crippling poverty, ultimately becoming the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Over 80% of the population live below the poverty line, making less than $2 a day. Most families don't have access to clean water, electricity, food, medical care, adequate housing, or education. Starvation is normal, and families have no choice but accept this fate.
This is what PID hopes to change. Founded in 1990, the organizations strives to help families work their way out of poverty. Through child sponsorship programs, housing projects, small business startups, and a functioning medical clinic, PID has allowed many families to build a better life for themselves and their families.
Gale Hull, the founder of PID, stated that one of the goals of the organization was to continue to help serve as many families as possible while maintaining the personal attention each family receives.
"Sponsoring a child really takes the family on that journey to have the tools so they can get out of poverty and change their future if that is what they want to do."