Reporting and Ready for Duty in Haiti: JustWorks Trip Begins Saturday

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is partnering with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) on a joint volunteer trip to Haiti, December 3-10. In the post below, trip leaders Nicole McConvery of the UUA and Evan Seitz of the UUSC share their thoughts on the journey to help rebuild the community and lives of earthquake survivors in Haiti. After months of planning, we can’t wait for the volunteers to arrive for our next JustWorks experience! As trip leaders, we've arrived safely in Port-au-Prince, and it has been nonstop preparation for the arrival of participants ever since. Last night, all the trip leaders met at the hotel and went over last-minute logistics. It is great working with the team, including UUSC Haiti Emergency Response Manager Wendy Flick, who has over 10 years of experience in Haiti. We reviewed the flight itineraries of our volunteers and are ready to pick them up at the airport tomorrow. We have a great and diverse group of volunteers on this trip, thanks to the generosity of UUA donors. Ten Unitarian Universalists from nine states will be working to construct a community building at the eco-village site, a project of UUSC's partner, the Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP). Located several hours outside of Port-au-Prince in the Central Plateau, the eco-village is providing sustainable homes and livelihoods for 10 Haitian families displaced by the earthquake — and establishing a model for future villages that are already being planned. On the UUA-UUSC joint JustWorks trip for youth in August 2011, we helped construct the final two homes in this village. Now all 10 homes have been constructed, the families have moved in, and the first crops have been harvested. It is an exciting time! The community building will be used for communal agricultural activities, trainings, and social gatherings. We're happy to report that this is the first time in Haiti for trip leader Nicole, who is part of the UUA's International Office, as well as for fellow trip leader Erik Mohn, the UUA’s Young Adult Spirituality & Service Consultant and a consultant for the UUSC’s College of Social Justice. Evan remembers being quite nervous his first time in Haiti, which was also his first time leading a trip for UUSC. If Nicole and Erik are nervous, they certainly don’t show it! That’s it for now; we need to go get some rest. Our first set of volunteers arrives at 9 a.m. tomorrow, and we want to be bright-eyed to greet them! We're so looking forward to another powerful experience working with Unitarian Universalists and MPP in the unforgettable countryside of Haiti’s Central Plateau.