By SangJoo ("SJ") Kim
In the past, when someone asked me which country is the best place I have ever been to, I would hesitate and say the Czech Republic. Although the Czech Republic is a beautiful country that I would like to visit again, the Woodstock Academy trip to Haiti in April 2014 shifted my list of favorite countries. This past October, I was excited to be invited to Haiti again and of course, excitedly, I decided to join the team.
Haiti is the most wonderful country that is full of hope, joy, and love. It was completely different from what I had been hearing for 17 years. Especially filled with joy and the best part of my trips, was the HELO orphanage in Les Cayes. HELO, founded by Elisabeth Kennedy and Jean Phares Beaucejour, provides Home, Education, Love, and Opportunity to 54 children as well as a school for more than 90 children.
Every single kid at HELO is surprisingly bright, warm, and loving. They always greet people with kisses and hugs. By the end of the trip, all the team members (Annabel, Amy, Jessica, Erin, and Sara) were exhausted from doing activities like arts and crafts, soccer, singing, and hide and seek. I will never forget the beautiful smiles of each child and their soft voices asking “pote’m” (which means hug or pick me up). Even hearing “chinwa” (which means Chinese) from the kids, who were teasing me since I was struggling to explain that I am Korean!
Waking up every day listening to chickens, goats, and mosquitoes will also stay in my heart, as it is reminder of the beauty of the countryside and of the country’s people. I am hoping that I can go back again soon and I will be looking forward to it.