The second week of January was unique for 13 Eastern students who flew to a country some refer to as a fourth-world.
Juniors Cori Davis and Cara May Neuenschwander, a youth ministry major, led the missions trip to Haiti.
“A lot of people say there’s third-world countries and then there’s Haiti,” junior psychology major Brittany Smith said.
According to Smith, there is more hope for Haiti than the people who make this statement choose to recognize.
The trip included evangelizing and construction in Port-au-Prince, Delmas and Pétion-ville.
Senior psychology major Andy Gill always wanted to go to a “fourth-world” country.
“So many people were praying for us,” Gill said.
The majority of the trip was spent at a one-room schoolhouse full of children.
According to Smith, the schoolhouse is located in the home of two women. The group helped to build an addition onto the school.
Senior social work major Bernie McInnes described a feast made for the group by the children at the end of the week.
“They give a lot that they don’t necessarily have,” McInnes said.
On the last day of the trip, the team spent one hour at an orphanage for disabled kids.
According to McInnes, Smith and Davis, this was the most moving and difficult part of the trip.
“[Disabled children] are the untouchables in this society,” McInnes said. “That was the first time I cried the whole trip.”
“The children were so happy to be alive,” Smith said.
She decided not to go into the orphanage, but interacted outside with a few of the children.
“At the orphanage, they were so happy,” Davis said. “Some of them couldn’t move, but they were still smiling.”
Neuenschwander met her sponsor child from Compassion International on the trip.
“He sang a song for me and he told me that he was praying for me. He was only 5,” she said.
Through these experiences, the team learned a valuable lesson about Haiti.
“It’s poverty like you’ve never seen before,” Davis said. “Their wealthy are our poor. They have joy like I’ve never seen before.”