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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Final Day March Break Awareness Trip to Haiti,2017

Haiti March Break Awareness Trip 2017 - Day 7

We have found ourselves on the final day of our trip. This day started out with a bit of a later breakfast. As has been the theme St. Joseph's, staff provided us with a great meal. Following breakfast we boarded a bus and visited the Apparent Project not very far from our accommodations. We met our tour guide Tricky who provided us some background information and took us through the various workshops that would create goods.  The Apparent Project is the location where many different goods are handmade for sale in the shop. We saw different types of beads for jewellry, some of which are made from recycled cardboard. We also saw pottery and t-shirts being made among other things. We learned that this project was created to provide jobs for parents so they can afford to support their children and avoid situations where they may end up having to bring their children to orphanages due to poverty. We visited the shop where finished projects are sold after our tour. It was hard to pick just one thing so most of us picked many! It felt nice to support the program, but many of us agreed that the things we purchased would have been worth buying on merit alone in a store anywhere. 
Our time at the project was capped off with a delicious lunch at the rooftop Papillon Clay Cafe. 
From there we took the bus to Croix Des Bouquets, also known as "tin town".  This is an outdoor market that sells hand crafted metal works made out of the recycled oil drums. Our group split into pairs and went on a shopping excursion to buy items to be used in Rayjon fundraisers. Some of us even bought a few keepsakes for ourselves!  Overall this was a good experience and there was lots to see. The amount of creativity involved was at times overwhelming. 
On our way back to St Joseph's house there was a very important pit stop to buy some Haitian vanilla. It is said that this vanilla stands apart from the rest in its aroma and essence. On our way we drove through City du Soleil, which was perhaps our most jarring experience of seeing the abject poverty that exists for many Haitians. For lack of a better word this is a slum made up of many small dwellings packed in together. We also made a brief stop at the Cathedral in Port Au Prince. The Cathedral was significantly damaged in the 2010 Earthquake. There has been limited repair since. Group members who viewed the Cathedral pre 2010 spoke of what it looked like before which put the damage into perspective. Nearby we also got to see the famous statue of the "Unnamed Slave" which we had learned about days earlier at our museum tour in St. Marc. This powerful image celebrates the revolution. 
When We returned to Our accommodations we enjoyed a delicious dinner provided by our hosts and spent some time reflecting on our trip. Our reflection tonight was about the true purpose of Rayjon Awareness trips.  Each of us shared how we used "Look, Listen and Learn" during our journey and what stood out to us. We also discussed ways we can share our experience when we return to Canada (so if you're reading this there is a good chance one of us will be looking to tell you some more in depth stories than this blog can provide at some point). 
We (bloggers Ian and Amanda) think it is safe to say that this trip proved to be an enlightening experience in many ways, some of which we might not have seen coming. This has been a great group of people to travel with and we met and listened to some truly inspiring and insightful people; people that are passionate about their country, their people and the issues that are present. If you're thinking about an awareness trip we would all encourage you to attend an info session for a future trip. 
That's a wrap on the 2017 Awareness Trip. 

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