The Mission Made team was incredibly blessed to be a part of another incredible trip to Haiti alongside our friends at Haiti Awake this past June. Our Executive Director, Kaitlyn Hopfer, wrote about her experience in Haiti and the incredible things that she did on her trip through our Mission Made network.
As we took the 3-hour tap-tap ride to the top of the mountain I was amazed as I looked around me. The long ride provided me the opportunity, amid the craziness of the week, to observe and absorb the complexity and beauty we were surrounded by. After lots of bumps, turn, and a few times of stopping to ask for directions we made it to our destination, the Wynnee Farm Nature Reserve situated in the mountains of Kenscoff, Haiti at an altitude of 6,000 ft. and over 30 acres. I saw before me that the Haitian proverb was unimaginably accurate, from each peak, we saw more mountains, new puzzle pieces among the incredible Haitian backdrop. It looked like something you would see in a picture book.
When I reflect on the past year and Mission Made’s work alongside Haiti, I believe that this image represents our journey… “beyond the mountains, more mountains”. When we reach what appears to be a peak, a triumph through our work, we arrive and just see the next peak to climb. This trip was one of those peaks. During this trip, I saw my sweet Haitian friends, I danced and sang alongside the children whom I adore, and I saw the fruits of our efforts come to fruition in how our artisan’s lives have been affected. But as I relished in the beauty around me, I could already see the next peak ahead, there is still so much to be done.
So many things in Haiti have changed since that first visit, this trip we had city power nearly the entire trip, we had running water, and several times throughout our travels I saw individuals cleaning garbage out of the streets. It may sound simple to us here in the United States, an expectation that these types of things would occur, but such is not true in Haiti. Systemic change IS happening, and it happens through organizations like Haiti Awake, walking alongside our Haitian friends to help affect change. The book “The Poor Will Be Glad” by Peter Greer says “This movement is radically different from traditional charity. It focuses on long-term systemic change and lasting employment patterns, not short-term fixes. It emphasizes the importance of partnerships and local champions, not external “saviors” descending to solve problems of the poor. The hope of the gospel is integrated through tangible acts of compassion that have long-term reach, rather than simply providing handouts that keep the poor in a place of dependency."
The way Mission Made is playing a role in this movement is through job creation in Haiti. Providing employment to artisans throughout Haiti is what we have been called to and is how we will continue to create an impact.
Visiting our friends at the metal works market in Croix-des-Bouquets is one of my personal favorite activities on behalf of Mission Made. As you wander through, there is studio after studio featuring various artisan’s artwork created from recycled steel oil drums. All around you is the sound of hammering, chiseling, singing, and laughing. The crafting of the metal art is a trade that has been passed down from generation to generation. Alongside my Haitian friend Hudson, I went from shop to shop purchasing various pieces to add to the Mission Made collection. That day we did more than buy art pieces, we continued on-going relationships with friends, we helped to support their livelihood, and more so we brought them pride in the hard work that they put into their trade.
In the midst of visiting a few other artisans group and learning more about their efforts we additionally were able to spend time at my FAVORITE place in all of Haiti. Haiti Awake LaKay Timoun, the Haiti Awake Children’s Home. The 13 little faces that captured our hearts and sparked a passion in our hearts for Haiti one year ago are growing and thriving children. We hosted a VBS with the children, had a soccer day, took them on adventures, and spent time growing and learning from one another. As we sang and danced together, I knew those mountain peaks ahead will always be worth climbing. Creating jobs in Haiti is what will ensure that those children, and all children in Haiti will continue to thrive.
When you purchase Mission Made products you are helping to support these efforts directly. To learn more about how to get involved in our efforts email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A special thanks to Haiti Awake for hosting an incredible trip, for all that you do in Haiti and for being a living example of how to love another in relationships. Consider donating directly to Haiti Awake’s effort by clicking here.