Hey friends! You might remember back in December we had a day dedicated in our shop to our dear friend/photographer Caroline. All profits from the shop went to raise money for her trip to Haiti. Today she's back to update us on how the trip went and what she's been up to.
Caroline is one of the best photographers I've ever met and her passion is also crazy contagious. I'm so grateful she's one of my people and I'm so grateful she's sharing her story with us today. Enjoy, friends! - Jessi
It’s been almost eight weeks since I returned from working in Haiti and I’ve been at a loss of how I should write about this trip, these people and these stories. I’ve had a ton of friends meet me for coffee or dinner to hear my stories which I am so grateful for and I’m an open book for wanting to talk about it. My people know that I don’t tell stories quickly-I tell them with all the detail for you to feel the moment, the situation, the intensity-I want you to love and ache and be as excited as I was. And putting all of those stories into words on a screen is hard. Anyone who has gone through an experience with a group of people that you’re no longer with knows how hard it is to come to terms with the real world after that experience is over. It’s a balance of wanting to let those experiences and relationships change you but at the same time, realize that the real life you return to is hard. Going back to running a business is hard. And time consuming. And frustrating when the world has taught us that emailing is more important that maintaining relationships and meeting deadlines is more important than being a part of a change in a broken nation.
So I’ll try to show you with pictures and with words because that’s what I do.
I could say that the heart of the trip was love or service or joy or any of the other genuine emotions that both our team received and we were able to give but from my perspective, it was about giving hope. Coming into the trip, our team didn’t know what we were going to be doing. Heck, we didn’t even know each other. We came from all across the continent as professional photographers and entrepreneurs (with a student, a firefighter and a few nurses sprinkled in) wanting to serve with the skills and talents that we had. What we didn’t want was be there without a purpose. We didn’t want to come in wearing matching t-shirts, hug the kids and disappear only to post photos on Instagram for our friends to double tap.
So we didn’t.
For the week, we worked with Child Hope International, an organization in Port-au-Prince that encompasses a school, a clinic, a boys home, a girls home, a feeding program and a transitional program. As part of their schooling, the older kids take classes to help bridge the gap between aging out of the orphanage and heading into the real world where the unemployment rate is 82%. But as we all know, there is a large difference between merely knowing the skills of baking sewing, metal working, jewelry making, screen printing and computer tech and being able to use them to profit, thrive and grow.
So that’s where we came in. Throughout the week, we were able to teach the kids business classes, help them verbalize and write down their why of why they do what they do and work with the staff to talk out obstacles and how to get over those walls. And of course, photograph/film all their programs for an upcoming project that we didn’t even know needed to happen until the last few hours of our trip.
And the people…the people on this trip…gosh. We came from all over and connected immediately on so many different levels that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain to those who weren’t there. They are SOLID, fearless, hilarious, boldly-loving, world-changing people that are some of my new favorites.
So here goes. The week in pictures from not only me, but my whole team of photographers (with a few stories thrown in). And team-thanks for helping me tell this story with your photos! Below you can also watch the video made about the Passion Project trip to Haiti!