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BuildOn’s Trek to Haiti!

Hannah Triester, Staff Writer

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In less than two weeks, seventeen of Harriton’s most determined and dedicated students will embark on a journey to La CiVette, Haiti to lay the foundation for a school that will change countless lives. Since October, the team has worked diligently to raise funds for the school by reaching out to friends, family, and small businesses. Each contribution has gotten them nearer to their goal of $65,000, and in their final weeks leading up to their departure, they are still collecting the final dollars needed to set everything in motion.
On April 1st, the group, led by Mr. Curyto, Mr. Imaizumi and Ms. Nemec, will set off for the city of Port Au Prince, Haiti, for a one night stay in a hostel followed by a five-hour bus ride to Las Cayes. This is a slightly smaller city than Port Au Prince, and is the last stop before the village that they will stay in for the remainder of their time in Haiti. To get to the village, the team will ride in car to the village. During their first day in the there, they will settle in with their host families and begin to grow accustomed to the Haitian ways. It is then that the real work begins, as concrete is laid, iron bars are put in place, and the foundation of the school begins to emerge. When the team is not physically working, they will be participating in cultural workshops with the community and becoming truly acquainted with the Haitian people and their host families. In the final hours of their expedition, the Trekkies will say their goodbyes to their host families and attend their own, private BuildOn dinner to celebrate their impressive achievements and the completion of their nine-day trip. It doesn’t stop there, though, as the money raised will be used to complete the construction of the school, pay the workers, and to insure that the school is sustained with teachers.
The Harriton Banner sat down with several members of Harriton’s BuildOn Trek Team to gain further insight into their feelings regarding the trip, and their reasons for taking on such a tremendous project.

HB: Why did you decide to do Trek?

Duncan Miller: I wanted to do Trek because I thought it would be a pretty cool experience that I wouldn’t get to have otherwise.

Rachel Brown: We get to go to Haiti, it’s a crazy experience, and hundreds of kids are going to get an education. Also, during the next natural disaster this is going to be the only stable building in the surrounding miles.

Sam Eaddy: I’ve been doing Buildon since my freshman year and I had 30 hours of service last year, and this year I have about 70, because of Trek, so I’m really excited and I’ve always had it instilled in me to give back to others who need it most, and that really inspired me.

Sophie Brown: I chose to do Trek because I really like helping people, I think that it’s a great experience to have, and I want to get out of my comfort zone a little bit.

HB: What are you looking forward to most on your Trek to Haiti?

Duncan: I’m most excited to learn about the Haitian culture.

Rachel: I’m most excited for meeting my host-stay family and meeting the kids that are actually going to get the school. I also look forward to actually being in Haiti and not being in Lower Merion, and actually being five hours away from any remote civilization.

Sam: I’m excited to go on Trek, I’ll learn about a new culture. We are going to be helping those who need help the most. It’s going to be an interesting experience to be in a new culture and live with a host family, work with your peers to build a school for all people to have an education, both boys and girls equally.

Sophie: I am most looking forward to experiencing a new community and helping those who really need it.

HB: What were your methods for fundraising and how difficult was it to reach your personal goals?

Rachel: I did a Chipotle, Bertucci’s, and Snap Pizza fundraiser, as well as a bake sale at MLGBA. I also received donations from family and friends and from Duncan’s church bake sale. This took up a lot of time, but I learned a lot from the experience. This paid for the entire school and the foundation that we will be building when we get there.

Sam: It was kind of difficult, we still need about 5,000 dollars as a whole group, but we are really working hard for it and I think we will be able to achieve our goal.

Sophie: It was really hard, and it was really time-consuming. We had fundraisers, which took a lot more time than I thought they would, but it’s all going to be worth it in the end.

Duncan: Fundraising seemed like a really scary task at first, but as I began to participate in the group efforts my goal became more realistic. All of the hard work everyone has put in has been really impressive.

It seems as though this year’s group of Trekkies have set themselves up for great success. in the next few weeks, we should be sure to hear all about the final steps in their journey and the many ways in which they left a community in much better condition than they found it.

Students participating in 2017 Trek to Haiti:

Duncan Miller, Rachel Brown, Sophie Brown, Sam Eaddy, Grace Weaver, Hannah Austwick, Maddie Steinagel Taylor, Angela Sjoblom, Alexandra Branscom, Graham Branscom, Gina Golden (LM), Barbara Peck (LM), Homa Mirzai, Aidan Fleming, Yasmeen Majid, Jasmine McGranaghan

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BuildOn’s Trek to Haiti!