Weekly Update By Long Term Britsionary Danielle

My name is Danielle and I am writing to you from Grand Goave, Haiti at Brit's Home! I will be spending 2 months here as a long term Britsionary. This trip will be a bit different from my past trips. Instead of participating in the home build project,I will be taking photos and videos, and working on BLB marketing projects throughout the summer. This is my third trip to Brit's Home but I've been in the Be Like Brit family since the beginning! With a Bachelor's Degree in Communications, I'm excited to use my communications skills to help out this amazing organization. 

As I am writing this, I hear some of of the kids walk by singing I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston. I automatically laugh out loud. It seems like a fitting way to start this post. 

I am so happy to be back! Coming to Haiti always feels like I'm coming to visit family. I'm always greeted with hugs and "how have you been?!" I was even told by a few staff members that my Creole pronunciation has improved since last year!

During my first week back, I was able to be apart of team 'Are We There Yet?' This team included Britsionaries who were returners and newbies from all over the U.S. I always love hearing what newcomers think about Haiti. 

This team was incredible! They built not one, but two homes in the community. One was for an 86 year old man who is blind. He explained that he lost everything in Hurricane Matthew last year and was beyond thankful for this new home. The other was for a woman and her young son. The mother explained she has been in a tough situation and is happy she will now have a roof over her head. Both house blessings brought a lot of happy tears. Imagine what it would feel like to open the door to your very first home with your very first mattress! The team left knowing they made a life changing impact. 

A few days in, 2 of our teammates Lisa and Megan Birch, had to head back to the states due to unexpected circumstances. They are both well and spending this week volunteering at the Be Like Brit offices in Worcester, MA while catching up with other Britsionaries. Our team stayed motivated and worked hard knowing they were with us in spirit! 

Our team was able to go on many excursions throughout the week with our fearless leaders, Francky, Madona, and Melissa. We went for a hike through the mountains, visited a voodoo temple where we saw a short ceremony with music, swam with the kids in the ocean, and went to the market to buy food for the families we built homes for. The team loved walking through the mountains and handing out lollipops to all the kids we passed. It was a great way to practice our Creole and make some new friends. It was definitely a packed week of fun adventures! I love hearing stories and facts about the Haitian culture. Everyday I learn something new.

Summer camp is now in full swing at Brit's Home! While the team went to work on the home build, I stayed in to sit in on the different workshops and capture some pictures and video. I am constantly amazed and inspired by the staff here in Haiti. Each staff member gives 110% in all they do and the kids are always eager to learn and participate in each activity.

There are a variety of programs; arts & crafts, sports with Coach, English classes, music lessons, reading, and more. The kids can now make paper flowers, play ping pong very competitively, and sing a variety of songs (in Creole and English!!)

Yesterday in English class with a few of the younger kids, their assignment was to give a "personal presentation." They had to stand up, greet the class, share facts about themselves, and then answer questions from the group. I couldn't help but smile the entire lesson. Not only are they extremely smart, but they are also so encouraging of each other. When one child gives a presentation or reads out loud, he/she is cheered on by the others.

I love capturing candid moments through my camera. Very rarely do I ask the kids to pose and smile. The smiles just come naturally! There is so much love and happiness in this home that I wish everyone could experience. 

On the last night with team Are We There Yet, we had a huge dance party filled with laughs and smiles. I think everyone made memories that will last a lifetime. 

Make sure to follow Be Like Brit on all social media platforms to see updated pictures and videos! 

Thank you Len and Cherylann for having me at Brit's Home. I am so excited for this opportunity!