Ciamhie took part in Haven’s Build It Week in November 2012. Here, in her regular updates from the site, she shared her experiences and all the progress made by the teams of volunteers.
What a crazy three days it’s been! We arrived on site on Sunday morning ready to get stuck in and ready to work! We were introduced to our team (or family!) for the week, made up of three Haven volunteers and eight Habitat for Humanity volunteers, two of whom are also Irish. We got our instructions and off we went!
We had to walk through last year’s site in order to reach the houses we would be working on. It was incredible to see the progress the site had made in just a short year. The houses we built last year were well settled with vegetation and changes made along the way. The houses we would be working on were directly opposite the houses my team had built last year, only divided by a fence.
Within an hour of starting work, there was a rustle in the bushes the other side of the fence, and out popped the head of Andre, a character by all accounts, who was one of the recipients who kept us entertained for the week last year. There he was with a big grin on his face and the Donegal jersey my team member gave him last year: hilarious! No sooner had Andre arrived screaming my name, but all the local kids we had played with last year came out to join the fun!
One woman who stole my heart last year was a little old lady called Madeline, who was christened Mama Haiti by the whole campsite, as she took us under her wing for the week. What a rock star she was. Recognizing one of the children from the group as her granddaughter, we sent her off in search of the legend herself. A small little head appeared from around a door and, as soon as she spotted us, she came running through the site, arms open wide, cheering our names to give us hugs and kisses. This was such a magical experience. If I had to leave Haiti that minute, my trip was made!
The rest of the week has flown by! The long hot days (reaching almost 40 degrees each day!) are tough, as we slave away hammering bloody hurricane clips into roofs in the searing heat, but when you see a smile and a glimmer of hope on a Haitian person’s face… it’s worth every drop of sweat!
A truly magical few days and I can’t wait for the morning when we return again!
Espwa Pou Ayiti- Hope for Haiti
Please note, all views and comments are Ciamhie’s own and not that of Haven.
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