Preparations for my trip to Haiti

March will signify the first time that I will travel to Haiti. As with other first time events, one can feel excited, scared, nervous, humbled, appreciative, hyped, and courageous all at one time. Perhaps, I am that plus more. However, the knowledge and experiences gained through the leadership retreat has prepared me more for what I think will be one of the most significant chapters of my life.

During the Leadership Retreat in January, the trippers met separately and were able to connect before final preparations for the trip started. During this ‘aside’ retreat, different things were highlighted for me. First, I was able to learn about other trippers, who will be apart of this chapter. We were able to share our emotions in a space filled with love and understanding. Surprisingly, we are a lot more similar to each other than we thought we were, where our emotions in some ways collided throughout the room. This was a significant aspect of the day, given that I felt connected to a group of amazing people who I will possibly laugh, cry, and share other emotions with in Haiti. Second, the retreat allowed me to acknowledge my strengths, but own my weaknesses as well. This came by first developing the skill and courage throughout the day to recognize my faults as part of a team, and the effects that such factors can have on other people, whether drastic or small. This will play a crucial part of my experiences in Haiti, given that it is important to understand the effects that you have on your teammates during your journey to accomplish both your individual and collective goals. Equally important, owning my weaknesses allowed me to further meditate on how my actions may affect the people of Haiti as a foreigner who will be entering their space. I have learned that having weaknesses is not a bad thing, but acknowledging how your actions and thoughts as a result of those weaknesses affect others is important.

I am unaware of what exactly my trip to Haiti will entail. What I do know is that the leadership retreat has enabled me to better channel my emotions as I prepare for the trip, and further understand the effects of my thoughts and actions. I am deeply appreciative of this experience because of this.

Some photos of our preparations this semester:

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by Makeba Walcott ‘19