The Road Home

The few weeks I spent in Haiti were some of the best of my life; the culture was welcoming, the food was delicious, and the people I met were the kindest. I am grateful I had the opportunity to spend time with them and to help out, even if it was in a small way. Over forty percent of the Haitian people lack access to clean water. Thankfully there are many wonderful organizations that are working to change that. I am glad I got the opportunity to work with Volunteers for Peace, one of these great organizations. To learn more, visit http://www.vfp.org/t-haiti.aspx

Thirst

A young girl journeys to one of the only sources of clean water in her small mountain village. I felt very lucky to have gotten this shot. After hiking down the side of a mountain to get to one of the only sources of fresh water in the area, there was already a small group of women there, some doing laundry some collecting water. After waiting about twenty minutes, this beautiful little girl wandered up to the water source. This is one of the most moving photographs I have shot to date, and it was a moment I won’t forget any time soon.

The Smile

A village elder pauses to smile after performing an oral story about the history of her people. Of all the people in the room she was the most full of energy, of life, and of grace. Her performance was thoroughly captivating, and though it was in another language, she had a way of making you feel, and somehow understand, what she was saying. All eyes were on her, the other village elders, all the volunteers, and some stray school children waiting beneath the open windows. I didn’t have to say much to get this picture, just slightly lift my camera and she struck her pose, and I am forever grateful I got to meet her.

Paradise

On one of the last days of the trip, we went to a beautiful region of Haiti, Jacmel. After walking around the city and visiting a local art museum, we headed for the beach. I have never been to a more beautiful beach than the stony beaches of Jacmel. After being treated to a wonderful chicken dinner and spicy goat shish kabobs, the group watched a beautiful sunset and headed back for our final days in Haiti.

The Flower of the Valley

One of the best and brightest people I met in Haiti. This young girl, who was the daughter of the hotel owner, could speak three languages and was very interested in learning all that she could from our cultural exchange. She played with us, watched movies with us, she cooked with us, and she even volunteered to paint a local hospital with us. This girl holds a pretty big place in my heart.

Boy at Play

One of the many children that I had the pleasure of meeting while staying in La Vallée. Despite this more serious look of concentration, he was a very happy and lighthearted boy, always doing his best to make everyone around him smile. It was fun to watch him play with the other children and the volunteers. He was such a pleasure to be around and I am glad I got to know this bright young man a bit.

Kite Festival

One of the cultural exchanges the volunteers got to participate in was the annual Kite Festival. Each of us handmade a kite for the festival and then made the long walk from the hotel to the hillside where thousands of Haitians gathered for the celebration. Though it was very crowded, it was so much fun and filled with great food and great people.

The Mural

While visiting the Hotel Oloffson in the capital, I couldn’t help but stumble upon this beautiful mural. Haiti is already beautiful on its own, but the abundance of artwork and artists only enhances the natural beauty. If you ever get the chance to visit Haiti, make friends with some of the local artists and make sure to bring home some art to decorate your walls!

The City

Whenever I travel to a new place, I love getting the opportunity to explore the city. I love watching the people go about their daily lives, listening to the beautiful sounds of their language, so foreign to my ears. I greatly enjoyed spending the day in the back of a small pickup, roaming the city streets, exploring markets and museums. I often think about the sights and smells and tastes held in the memories of those city streets.

The Crowd

A view from the top of the pickup as we travel through downtown Port-au-Prince. We believe the crowd was gathered around a location so they could receive aid. While many people have come a long way in their recovery since the 2010 earthquake, there is still much more that can be done.