Sarah and Kate’s Story | A very enjoyable and rewarding experience

Kate Kenneally and Sarah Browne are taking part in the 2016 Volunteer Programme.  In this blog series, they share their experiences and all the developments from the site throughout the week.

Here, Kate, a member of the team working on the new kindergarten building at Hope House Haiti, takes us up to the halfway point of the trip.


I woke up bright and early for breakfast at 6am, feeling refreshed after getting my full eight hours.  I was so wiped out from the heat and the work the day before that I crashed out immediately after dinner!

I was assigned to the team building the new classrooms, and arrived onsite today shortly before 7am.  We had gotten the walls built and stood by the end of day two, so on day three, we worked alongside our Haitian colleagues to secure the walls, lift the tresses up from where they had been made by another team, and slide them up onto the roof to be secured.  I really couldn’t believe how quickly the building was taking shape.

That evening I made it my mission to stay up past 8.30pm, and enjoyed a few beers with the rest of the volunteers after dinner.


Up bright and early again – which I am having surprisingly little difficulty with, despite my long history of despising early mornings – and onsite for 7am.

Today, we had to erect the internal walls, splitting the building into three classrooms and then securing plywood throughout the inside of it to create the internal wall.  A long day of screwing plywood into the wall frames ensued, and I can safely say that I know a significant amount more about drill bits, screw lengths and power tools than I did arriving!

The work is hard but the banter among the volunteers is great, which makes it a very enjoyable and rewarding experience.  During our breaks, we wandered up through the school and high-fived the kids in their pristine school uniforms, dropping in on the summer camp which is being run by a few of the volunteers and Haven staff.

Having the tresses up on the roof of the building generates a surprising amount of shade and, although I was still tired from the work, the difference in my energy levels was huge, and it was the first evening that I wasn’t falling asleep at the table after dinner!

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