A Word from our Intern in Haiti

Gift of Water has the great fortune of having an intern – Heather Larkin – working with us for the summer in Haiti.  Below are a few thoughts from Heather, sharing her beginning experiences living and working in Petitie Riviere de Nippes.

blog_109660_1641353I’m a rising senior at Cornell University, studying Molecular and Cell Biology, with minors in Global Health and Africana Studies. One requirement for the Global Health minor is to spend 8 weeks in a foreign country doing work or study related to public health. I was interested in doing a project involved with water purification. After looking at the programs that many organizations offered for volunteers, and the various fees these organizations charged, I wanted to find a program that I didn’t feel was looking to exploit students in their desire to go abroad. I contacted the Gift of Water because they did not have a volunteer program set up. I immediately noticed how this organization was full of honest, hard working people who have been so generous in setting up a volunteer program for me. Over the course of this summer, I will be coordinating with the water technicians of Gift of Water to collect demographic data on the homes that the program currently serves. I will also be doing a pilot study on health impact of the water purifiers.

So far I have enjoyed experiencing the culture of Haiti. I have been able to see about 200
homes so far, as well as participate in activities such as the market and church.  Learning Creole has been a rewarding challenge. I am far from being over with learning, but it has helped me to connect with many local people. The people of Petite Riviere have been extremely accepting and supportive as I’ve entered their community. This experience has been extremely informative about what it is like to live and work in a country that has a such a large amount of poverty. When I look to do work in the future with public health, I will have a much better understanding of the nature of the problems that people in extreme poverty are facing, and will be able to be far more effective in
addressing these issues.

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