Thursday, March 24, 2011

A surprise for Miss Maguire....

So while we were working in the pit these past couple of days,we came across something that appears to be a fossil. It's the neatest thing. We are going to try to bring them home but I'll take pictures of them first in case they are taken at the airport.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cleaning Our Clothes

This might appear like it is very easy to do, trust me it's not.

Coconut Necklace cont...

Did I mention I broke two blades doing this.  :(

Making Coconut Necklaces

YAY for Walnes for showing us how to make these.

Seriously Hard Core

Who needs full on work boots to get the job done right?  It's funny because the volunteers seem to more outfitted than the Haitian workers.  It's not really because of affordability but I think for the sheer preference of the way they like to work.

The chute for the workers to send concrete among other things to the "pit".  Yesterday I watched them send a pick axe down.  I watched in horror but thankfully no one got hurt.

Mr. Yacovelli and Miss Melissa bringing water up to make concrete.

This is how you get into the pit.  There are two very secured branches from a tree that are used for the handrails.  Haitians are very resourceful and use every last bit of their materials.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On the way to Croix de Bouquets

Nature's Alarm Clock

A sound sleep seems to be no match for the cacophony of crowing from the local roosters. From all directions an echo of "cockadoodledoo" nudges us from our slumber, heralding a new day. It seems that soon after begin the sounds of daily Mass and construction work. It is an amazing way to greet the rising sun.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tracking the moon from Haiti (for 7th grade science)

The moon is absolutely beautiful tonight!  It is a very full and round golden moon.  It's also very low, right above the trees.

When I performed the altitude test, I measured 4 and a half fists up from the starting position.

I am curious to see what the moon altitude is back home in NJ.


Our day went quite smoothly as far as getting everything in order, from picking up the rental car for the drive to the airport to packing the remaining things we needed to bring.

We arrived at the airport in Atlantic City ahead of schedule only to find out that our plane was delayed an hour and half.  We finally boarded our plane and headed to Fort Lauderdale.

We find ourselves back in the airport on 3 hours of sleep awaiting the flight to Haiti.  Again, we arrived here ahead of schedule only to find out the airport was closed so we stood in line for an hour.  But, don't get us wrong it wasn't bad at all, we were able to practice speaking Creole with another passenger who was Haitian.

Our flight is scheduled to depart at 5:30am.  Today is Election Day in Haiti.  It should be prove to be an historic day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Almost There....

We are 10 days away from our trip to Haiti.  It looks like things will finally work out this time and will be meeting our soon to be new friends in Port Au Prince.  Last night we watched Anthony Bourdain on the Travel channel and seeing him over there and interacting with the community and Sean Penn made us eager to get there even sooner.

In other news....A recent donation helped pushed our collections so far over the $1000.00 mark.  We appreciate the continued support from all of you.

Check back soon because we plan on sharing our adventure with all of you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We have our new dates!!!!

We are excited to announce that we are scheduled to go to Haiti from March 20th to March 28th.  We are looking forward to making the trip and getting to work with the people we have come to know over the phone!

"For all whose lives ended a year ago today. Some did not die but became something else, something more than we were before." RT@Melindayiti

Tomorrow starts the new year in Haiti!!!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Postponed until further notice :(

We apologize for the delay in informing all of our followers but we received this letter on the 15th of December.

Haiti is not doing well, unfortunately - I'm sorry to say that we have decided that we will not be able to hold the Elevate Haiti Trip this December/January season. As you have probably heard, there is considerable political unrest in the country, that is not expected to let up until well after the January 16th run-off election. I encourage both of you to reconsider going later in the year, perhaps next Thanksgiving (I know it's along time to wait!)

Let me know whether you decide to go on your own this December or if you'd prefer to wait and reschedule with us. We will work with you through either decision you make!  I'm sorry for the bad news!

There is a slight possibility that we will be able to go during Spring Break.

Thanks for following us and keep sending out the good vibes for us to make a difference in Haiti.

<3 Gina and Sal

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Most are waiting for the 25th of December to arrive but we are waiting for the 15th!!!

We may know the status of our rescheduled trip as soon as December 15th. At this time,  one of the possible rescheduled trips would begin December 26th and end January 3rd. We are awaiting replies from the other volunteers; if there is enough interest, we could be headed to Haiti the day after Christmas. This would be great if it works out because we can continue to fundraise for a few more weeks. It would also be ideal in that we would have to use only 1 day off from work. Maybe we will get a chance to welcome the New Year in Haiti.
Check back soon for updates. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Conference Call Details

We just had a conference call with the other members of our volunteer trip to talk about rescheduling the trip.  At this time January 2nd to the 10th is being considered as our make-up date.  Many of the volunteers, us included, said that these dates would work in their plans.  The conference call was reassuring in the sense that Elevate is being very proactive in moving forward so that we can follow through on our plans to visit Haiti and help.  The trip leader, currently in Haiti but leaving on the 21st because of the civil unrest, will give us a detailed report as to what she witnessed.  The brief update she gave over the phone made it clear that postponing our trip was the best course of action.  Within the next few weeks we expect to make more substantial plans as to rescheduling.

We'll keep you all updated!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Postponed :(

This is the letter we received late Thursday night regarding our trip.

We are saddened to say that there is considerable unrest in Haiti at this time due to the fact that the UN is being held responsible for bringing cholera to Haiti. After very careful consideration, we have decided that for everyone's safety we will be postponing the trip at this time. We want to provide you an immersion into the Haiti we know and love, a peaceful Haiti, and unfortunately, that is not the current climate.  2 travelers that are at St. Joseph's have already witnessed 3 accounts of violence firsthand and there is currently an anti-UN demonstration in Port-au-Prince. That said - the funds that you all have raised, OVER $7000 at this point, has allowed St. Joseph's to hire the workers that are moving forward with the classroom project. 
We are all extremely disappointed at this turn of events, but feel that it is the wisest course to air on the side of caution with such volatility on the ground. We deeply appreciate your commitment to this trip and look forward to discussing how and when we can best reschedule this trip for everyone’s safety and convenience.

As you can see in the letter, the fundraising efforts are very encouraging.  We were really looking forward to this trip and are very saddened to have to delay our volunteer effort.  Although it would have been great to have gone down to Haiti now; it is best for us to wait and go when we can be most productive.  When we have a better idea of our rescheduled trip, we will reach out to everybody.  Thanks for taking an interest.  

<3 Gina and Sal

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The countdown begins...

We've had two successful fundraisers this week.

One was held at Saint Rose of Lima in Haddon Heights, where former students of Mrs. Y donated the following items to our cause:
11 tubes of toothpaste
11 shampoo bottles
15 bars of soap
5 bottles of child cold medicine
2 suitcases worth of clothing for girls, boys, women and men
and several pairs of shoes.

We were able to vacuum pack all of the donated items into our "checked in" luggage.

Our other fundraiser was held at Riverfront School in Florence, where current students of Mrs. Y donated one dollar to wear hats in support of our cause.  We raised $286.00 from that event.

This time next Sunday we will be on our way to Haiti.  We are scheduled to touch down at 4pm.  

We thank everybody for being so generous and supporting this volunteer effort.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's getting close!!!

We had our conference call Saturday, November 6, and had a chance to "meet" our volunteer group. We found out more information about our trip and what to expect.

The airport in Haiti will be somewhat different than any of our previous airport experiences. Although it will be very chaotic and not as well organized, the airport does function as intended and we have been assured that it will be safe. There will be "bell hops" that will offer to carry our bags to our vehicle, expecting a dollar or two as a tip. They are determined and persistent so if we don't want their services we'll need to hold on to our bags - but considering the economy there, we'll probably employ their services.
We will be provided Haitian cell phones so that our family can contact us.

We will be staying at St. Joseph's Home for Boys. The orphanage houses former child slaves and is now directed by a man who himself was a child slave that escaped his captors and graduated from St. Joseph's. His name is Bill Nathan and after his escape he got an education and started his mission to save other children. Bill was injured in the earthquake when he fell from the top of the 7-story orphanage. However, we were told that he has recovered and that we may even get to hear him playing drums. A little more about Bill Nathan can be found here

Here is a video that shows a little of the grounds at St. Joseph's and has Bill explaining how he made it to St. Joseph's.

Our bathroom experience will certainly be different. The toilets will be flushed using large buckets of water. The showers are called "bucket baths" and should prove very basic but they serve their purpose.

St. Joseph's will provide food and beverage. Our breakfast will consist of bread, peanut butter, bananas, coffee and Tampico juice. Lunch and dinner will usually include rice and beans as well as vegetables and meat.

Our work schedule will be 8am to 4pm and we will be working alongside paid workers who were hired as part of efforts to put local residents to work.

What our days will look like:

Day 1
  • We will go through a safety training session 
  • Have orientation to meet the staff as well as the students at St. Joseph's
Day 2
  • We begin our first day of work
  • Evening tour of downtown PAP
Day 3, 4, 5 and 6
  • Work towards reaching our intended goal of rebuilding the classrooms
At the end of day 6 we will enjoy a 45 minute drive to Croix De Bouquets to go shopping (This is where you can find the famous metalwork that Haitians are known for)

Day 7 and 8
  • Travel to La Visite National Park in Seguin for a weekend retreat
  • Hike the mountains 
  • Stay at the eco lodge where they have traditional showers :)
Day 9
  • Return to St. Joseph's to say our goodbyes
  • Head to the airport for our long journey home

As far as the recent cholera outbreak, we should be safe because the orphanage will provide access to clean water. In addition, we will have pills that we can take if we suspect that we may have cholera symptoms.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Almost Time to Go

We can't believe how quickly things are moving now! We are in the final stages of preparing for the trip - getting supplies together, triple-checking our "To Do" list, scheduling doctor visits to make sure we have the proper shots, and so much more. Soon we'll start taking our malaria pills in preparation of the trip (you have to start taking them a few weeks before you actually get there).
It is a very exciting time as we look forward to our volunteer work. We are happy to have you join us by way of this blog.
Check back often for updates. We will post photos and videos during our visit.