Monday, November 09, 2015, 5:49 AM
It's with great excitement and trepidation that I anticipate my first trip to Haiti. This is not only my first time to Haiti, but my first international mission trip of any kind. After years of supporting others through financial contributions, supplies, and prayers, it's my turn. Even though I've had much time to contemplate the trip, I still wonder "how do I prepare?"
First, there's all the physical things such as what to pack. I've got my wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and insect repellent. I've diligently taken all my medications and read all the safe travel warnings. I've talked to people who have been to Haiti before and gotten all the good tips. Don’t drink the water. Stay with your group. Keep your money out of sight.
In my heart, I know the real issue I have is being way out of my comfort zone. I typically avoid third world countries, places where the people don't speak English, and cultures different than the US. In this case, I've got all those things and more.
The thing that helps me to face my fears is knowing that the work we're going is so important. Our purpose on this trip is to check on the status of the school we're helping to build in the Ecovillages, meet the people responsible for implementing the plan for the school, and help shape future phases of the school's development. That's a tall order but it's critical that all our donors and supporters know that their money and efforts are making an impact.
So, while the physical preparation is important, it is the easy part. How best to prepare to meet with people you've never met and who don't speak your language to discuss a project as complex as building a school from the ground up?