October 03, 2014
By: Lauren Witherspoon
Student, Mid-Atlantic Christian University
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and has an estimated population of about 10.6 million. Haiti is predominately Catholic with Catholics representing 80% of the population. Protestants make up 16% (Baptist 10%, Pentecostal 4%, Adventist 1%, other 1%). The unemployment rate is a whopping 40.6%.
Haiti is located in the Caribbean where it shares a smaller portion of the island Hispaniola of which the Dominican Republic takes up about two-thirds. In January 2010, unimaginable tragedy struck when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti and left nearly 160,000 people dead. Since the earthquake, countless relief teams have been down to Haiti to try and help in whatever ways they can.
MACU took their first international missions trip to Haiti this past summer of 2014. The group of eight representing the university journeyed to a part of the country called Ohso.
Andrea Strawderman, the Student Life Director at Mid-Atlantic Christian University, said that she tried to go without expectations because it was her first time overseas and her first time even on a plane! But even with that mindset, she still ran into some things that she did not expect like not having running water, electricity, and having to walk exactly 360 steps to use the bathroom--she counted.
The team also did not have transportation except for a bus that dropped them off at the beginning of the trip and picked them up at the end-- the bus also did not have the seats screwed to the floor—that must have been interesting.
Sophmore, Wyatt Stanton recounted a frightening story that happened while they were working one day: “We had made an assembly line to move rocks from one place to another. Me, Brandon Davis, and another guy that was not from MACU were all next to each other—keep in mind all of us are afraid of spiders—and we would see a pretty big one every so often and yell or scream before they ran off. But we knew something was wrong when Brandon did not stop screaming. I ran over and looked at what he was screaming at and I started to scream too. It was a Trantula. I grabbed Brandon and held him in front of me while we both back away from the spider. People had gathered around by then and one of the Haitian women grabbed a stick and pegged the trantula down. She tried to explain to us that he was our friend, but for some reason we were pretty skeptical.”
Wyatt plans to, in his future, be a missionary and as his first cross-cultural experience he liked his time in Haiti. His favorite part of the trip was the door-to-door interactions with the people and playing with the kids.
The hardest part he said was not getting enough sleep. They were doing so much during the day that they had a hard time resting like they needed to—the thin air matresses on the concrete floor probably did not help much either. Wyatt said his word of advice would be, “Be flexible, ‘cause there are no schedules, you never know what is going to happen.”