Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 9 (1/15) - written by (almost) everyone


Today was our day of departure from Haiti. Our morning started as usual, with a breakfast of mangoes and bananas and we had our usual starchy soup. It was accompanied by the mango juice we had come to crave like an average teenager craves Starbucks. After finalizing our packing, we saddled up and started toward the airport.


Once we "saddled up" some of us got into Fritz's van and the rest went into his truck. Almost as soon as we left the hotel I looked around and saw bobbing heads, almost everyone was falling asleep. During the trip we went over some very bumpy roads that woke everyone up, which was helpful because we had to get out to visit a factory called Manutech Inc.. This factory made electric parts that go into various electronic appliances like cell phones, medical equipment, etc, from this factory in Haiti they ship them to the US, Great Britain, etc. there were about 400 people there and they made on average $0.56 an hour, which meant only about $5 a day. This factory employed mostly women because "women tend to be more focused and disciplined than a man would be at that kind of work". This seems unkind but it was actually beneficial because women were usually working in kitchens and taking care of the houses in Haiti, rather than having paying jobs. After we left Manutech Inc. we went to the airport.


During our 5 minute drive to the airport, I waved at 5 people on the street. Haiti seems so friendly. When we arrived at the airport, we unloaded our bags and said heavy goodbyes to Fritz and all of our other friends that we made on this amazing trip. Our carefully packed bags were hand checked and tousseled before being tagged and loaded onto the conveyor belt. I think half of us were crossing our fingers that our stone carvings wouldn't be taken away. We then walked through metal detectors. At this point, a few people lost some honey and other liquids unfortunately. As we boarded the plane, we had one more bag search and a full body pat down. We were finally able to board the plane though. At least we knew we were safe (after about 2 hours of checking in and security).


Once we got on the plane business went about as usual. We took our seats and quietly waited for NYC. Around half an hour to NYC, I awoke to the sound of our snacks coming. We had peanuts, pretzels and a ham sandwich! Then Ben and I decided to tag team on the most frustrating iPhone game ever. I think on the plane we got a high score of 7, that's not even 30 seconds in to the game. Around 6:30 we had arrived at JFK. 


When we arrived at JFK we were each given customs forms to fill out and were rushed to get them done by the agents that where working. When we got through the first part of customs we had to go to baggage claims and get our luggage. We got through the the final customs check and stopped to get Dunkin Donuts, where Drew and I split a delicious dozen donuts. I love the Haitian food we had, but I must say I missed good old Dunkin Donuts. After our quick food and drink stop, we went outside and loaded our stuff and got on the party bus with Tech Valley High School being our final destination, where our parents would be to pick us up!


We finally arrived at Tech Valley at 10 pm and waited in the lobby with bags in our hands and under our eyes. We waited for what seemed like forever for our parents to finally pick us up. It was so great to see my family again. I had missed them so much! Despite my exhaustion, I excitedly told them about my experiences and how I was absolutely inspired by the Haitians. I definitely learned a lot of life lessons from this trip that I will forever carry with me. 


Overall this trip in my opinion was very successful. We were able to help the people of Cormier and the school in Bigonet in more ways than one. Between the workshops that were given to us and the hands on experience building the dryer and taking care of the trees, I think we all learned a lot about ourselves and I think that we can take the lessons we learned and use them throughout our lives. 

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