Thursday, December 19, 2013

Haiti Update: Two Weeks!

We are now exactly two weeks away from leaving for Haiti and things are (very quickly) falling into place! Our passports have arrived, we've completed required shots and immunizations and submitted all the official paperwork. In the past few weeks I've had the blessing of connecting with others to better prepare myself for what's to come and to make the most of my trip.

First, I did some research regarding Haiti, food, nutrition and hunger. According to the 2012 World Hunger Map by the World Food Programme, Haiti ranks a 5, meaning greater than 35% of their population is malnourished :( The biggest need seems to be in improving access to locally produced foods for the most vulnerable families in Haiti.

It's hard to see Haiti on this map so click this link to view the interactive version.
Second, through twitter, I was able to meet and strike up email conversation with another registered dietitian named Kristina who has served in Haiti in the past. According to her website:

"My mission, as an R.D., is to work towards reducing the rate of malnutrition in third world countries through nutrition education, menu planning, meal costing, and helping communities be creative with nutritious dense foods available in their markets. I believe in being a good steward to the earth, to local communities, and the body. I strive to make nutrition recommendations that are sustainable, nutritious, cost-effective, and helping to support locals."

She's cute as can be!
Kristina has been a huge help by giving me a better perspective of what to expect from a nutritional standpoint, educating me on the food culture of Haiti and mobilizing me with resources to take with me to more affectively address hunger in orphanages (which we will be visiting) and malnutrition. Thank you Kristina!

Third, I met with my coach's lovely wife, who has served in Haiti on several occasions in the past and happens to be VERY familiar with Jacmel. Personal perspective from those who've been there before = priceless.

We also recently had a skype session to "meet" our Haiti team, consisting of 6 students from Shenandoah University, which was pretty fun! Everyone was stressed regarding their upcoming finals but buzzing with excitement regarding what's to come! The meeting was productive and we were able to hash out some important details regarding the trip, traveling, final fundraising efforts, etc. Special shout out to Abigail Trader who is heading up the group from SU and handling the majority of the logistics through CCH. Our team seems like such a lovely group and I can't wait to meet them all in person.

Finally, our fundraising deadline has passed and thanks to a few last minute donations, I'm SO Happy to say that we met our fundraising goal!! Jumping into this Haiti mission's trip with little notice and little time to fundraise was a huge leap of faith... I am amazed by God providing to fill in the gaps and we're ever so appreciative to those who have helped to make this trip a reality. Thank You!

The next two weeks are going to FLY by. Between work, training, MOVING (yes, we're moving TODAY!) and Christmas, I am going to be one busy girl. Exciting times, indeed :D

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