Service learning trip … From Oregon to Haiti

Today, December 12, 2013, I will board a plane in Portland, Oregon, travel to Seattle, Washington and head to Miami, Florida. From there, I will go to Port-au-Prince, Haiti where I will spend nine days. This is the first time I’ve ever traveled out of the U.S., and really, it’s the first time I’ve traveled out of the West Coast. Honestly, I cannot put into words how I feel about traveling to Haiti. I’m an extremely passionate person and everything I do has some kind of deep meaning for me.

This particular service-learning trip is going to introduce me to millions of things I never knew existed. Yeah! I’ve read scholarly articles, books and I’ve learned some history of Haiti, but that is not going to prepare me for my time there. I may think I know what to expect, but I’m trying hard not to have unrealistic expectations. All I know for sure is that there’s a group of 10 going to Haiti. We’ve been meeting weekly all fall term and we have built quite a strong, interesting group. We will work together. We will communicate, have fun, and share an experience of a lifetime. I expect to build relationships with the people I go on this trip with. I expect to be safe, not get in trouble and come home in one piece. I expect to change.

The overall purpose of the trip is to help a small community strengthen their homes and lives. We will work with an orphanage, so I expect to play with many kids. I will also use this trip as my senior project. My choice of study, while attending WOU, is anthropology; cultural anthropology to be exact. I will take many notes and have many opportunities for photos. I am unsure what my thesis is or how I am going to write about this experience, but I’ve been brainstorming and I believe, while I’m there, my topic will present itself.

On a more personal note, this trip has the purpose of self-growth and inner-connectedness. As I said, I’m a very passionate person and, no matter what I get involved in, I tend to turn it into a spiritual experience; it’s usually a growing opportunity I encourage. I want to learn more about myself and about the world, so I soak in all that I can. I process quickly and deep. I believe this trip is going to guide me toward my dreams and life passions. I believe I am going to learn a lot about myself. I believe I am going to realize more of my strengths and learn how to strengthen my weaknesses.

This trip will provide another foundation for me to build on. I’ve always wanted to travel and since this is my first big trip, I’m going to be introduced to international travels. Excitement doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel about traveling internationally. I will have my passport stamped for the first time. I will set foot on land I’ve never set foot on before. I will fly over water I’ve never seen. I will see a way of life I never knew existed. I will write more when I return!



By Jo Bruno

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