David Bagg: What I found in Haiti’s Central Plateau

This story was written by David Bagg who recently went Haiti's Central Plateau to help on two projects. He shares his impressions on what he found there both from the people of Haiti and within himself. Recently my father and I along with a small group from RPI went to Haiti with a goal to install solar panels in the small village of Lahoye and set up a hydroponics system for the village of Lascahobas. I was expecting that this trip would be full of great experiences, and our group would see and learn of a new culture and the many ways that it differs from the United States. I was not disappointed, and the trip really impacted me and altered my personal world view. The magnitude of the struggles that these people face, and overcome, on a daily basis is probably what impacted me the most. One small example can be seen every day when the kids gather for school. Each morning the kids would walk to school, usually in small groups, in clean and pressed uniforms that matched the school they would attend. The simple fact that every single child’s uniform was clean and pressed everyday was mind boggling. All of these kids are coming from homes with no power or water and in many cases dirt floors, yet every single uniform was shiny and wrinkle free every day I was there. Same thing can be said for church on Sunday. This is just one small example of overcoming challenges, obviously there were many other larger obstacles that needed to be tackled daily. It seemed like they were able to make something from nothing in almost any circumstance imaginable. I witnessed a strong sense of community full of people willing to help out their neighbors. One specific event that really touched me occurred when our group was building the solar tower in LaHoye. A team member had brought along some hard candies to give to the children, as it is a treat they don’t often receive. We were up on a tower installing the panels and all the kids had gathered around the tower after school, and my team mate pulled out a candy. The children, predictably, became very animated and started asking for us to toss it down to them and jumping around. So we did and this little girl, maybe 7 years old, came up with it out of the pile of kids who had jumped and scrambled for it. The next thing she did was really astonishing. She stuck the candy into her mouth, and immediately broke it into about 10 pieces and passed it out to all her friends and the people who wanted some. I’m not even sure if she kept any for herself, if she did it wasn’t much. My group mate and I just looked at each other and said “did you just see that”. This action was of course trivial, but I saw its spirit mirrored throughout our trip, whether it was with someone who needed a hand with chores or someone who needed food or a place to sleep. It really was a wonderful and moving experience to be immersed in such a different culture and to attempt to help them with some of the problems they face. We are fortunate enough to have some means and opportunity to do so, where as they really have none. What a great opportunity this was for our group and the people of Lahoye and Lascohobas. I would encourage anyone to help out in any capacity, as this is truly a great cause. If you are reading this today and were moved by what I have written, I hope that you will help us. Give what you can and help us bring hope to my new friends in Haiti. To donate Click here now!