I have a reputation on my blog of being very critical of mission trips and voluntourism to Haiti but I’ve said over and over that I am very much in favor of non-Haitians visiting Haiti as long as they do so with cultural sensitivity and understanding and in a way that builds up local initiatives through reciprocal partnership. I’ve written about it a lot and talked about it a lot, so now I’m actually organizing some trips to hopefully put into practice what I’ve preached and offer opportunities for people to get involved in my local communities here in Haiti through some specified trips. These aren’t mission trips, or adventures or expeditions, or voluntourism. You’re not going to be Mother Teresa, or Sean Penn, or Vasco de Gama. You’ll just be humans coming alongside other humans to empower communities and collaborate across cultures. I’m organizing these trips because I truly do believe that it’s the most effective way to carry out some really important projects that we have in the works for these communities that I’m a part of and I want you to have the chance to be a part of them too. The local community does not have the resources or the access to do it by themselves, and neither do I have the time, energy, or resources to do them on my own. We need you.
So, following are 5 opportunities to get involved. Each one will take place in either the communities of Jacmel or Musac in LaVallee and will feature a primary partner organization to coordinate activities and lead projects. The cost for each participant is $1500, which includes lodging, meals, in-country transportation, project fees, and fees for translators, hosts, etc. The cost does not include airfare from the participant’s home to Port-au-Prince. To be included in a trip, a deposit of $750 is required 2 months prior to departure and the balance is due 2 weeks in advance of departure. Participating in these trips means supporting the work that is already happening and being coordinated by the local organizations. Trip members will not be doing much physical labor themselves as local crews will be hired for work such as construction. There won’t be a lot of sweating and toiling in the sun on these trips. For members who do have expertise in related fields there may be opportunities for training or teaching in partnership with the local representatives. Your job on these trips will be to build relationships and spend time better understanding the contexts in which the specific projects are needed and what their greater impact on the community is so that you can be a better long term advocate and supporter of what these organizations are doing.
If you are interested in any of the following trips you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a place on the team. Then you can also pay the deposit for the trip at any time up until the deadline. *Filling out the form and paying the deposit does not guarantee you a place on the team. Priority will be given to those who have expertise in relevant fields and those who have experience traveling to Haiti. I always want to also create space for newcomers to have the chance to take part in trips as well, but I believe it is important to curate the team in a way that will most effectively be able to contribute to the objectives of the local organizations. Not every trip is right for every person. But hopefully you can find one that is right for you. That being said, if I receive a registration form that I don’t feel is the right fit, or if I simply receive too many registrations for a single trip, I might have to refuse some requests to participate. It would be a great problem to have to have too much interest in these trips. If someone does pay the deposit fee and then afterwords I am unable to accept them on the team, I will return the deposit fee. If, however, someone pays the deposit, is accepted on the team, and then decides on their own to back out before the date of the trip, then the deposit will not be returned. I need people that aren’t messing around. I will update this page if teams fill up. I need a minimum of 6 participants to create a team and will accept a maximum of 12 to each group. The following dates are subject to change but hopefully will be close to the final dates of travel. If you are interested in a trip but the dates mentioned definitely don’t work for you, please email me anyway. I am willing to change dates or add trips according to interest and availability.
So, here are the current open opportunities:
Partner Organization: Living Media International
Description: Help build the Kirikou Village Preschool and Daycare in Musac, providing the most vulnerable children in the area a space to be empowered and believe in their potential as they build a solid educational foundation for future schooling. We will also work with New Life Primary School to establish a community library and train teachers and staff in a variety of education and leadership workshops.
Proposed Dates (Two trips available):
- October 18th – 26th, 2018 (Deposit due: August 16)
- May 7th – 15th, 2019 (Deposit due: March 7th)
Partner Organization: LaVallee de Demain
Description: Rebuild a chicken coop project that was destroyed in a recent hurricane that is designed to bring in funds to support the women’s group, Fanm Lakay, and train women on techniques for managing the coop and caring for the animals. We will also work with LaVallee de Demain to establish a number of tree nurseries at local elementary schools and train the children to care for the trees and contribute to reforestation.
Proposed Dates: December 28th 2018 – January 5th, 2019 (Deposit Due: October 28th)
Partner Organization: Jacmel Arts Center
Description: Contribute to the building repairs at the Arts Center to restore the classroom, gallery, studio, rehearsal, and artist residency spaces. We will also collaborate with the artists from the Center to create some works of public art within the Jacmel community. Opportunities for teaching and training with the arts students too.
Proposed Dates: February 6th – 14th, 2019 (Deposit Due: December 6th)
Description: This is a chance to simply experience all of the beauty and culture that the region of Jacmel has to offer in terms of nature, history, and the arts. We will visit Bassin Bleu waterfalls, Fort Oge historic site, local beaches and caves, experience Jacmel at night and witness local voudun culture as well as learn about the historic coffee trade first hand. There will also be workshops for participants to learn papier-mache, folk dance and drumming.
Proposed Dates: March 22nd – 30th, 2019 (Deposit Due: January 22nd)