Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Returning to Haiti

Children at one of the orphanages we visited.

I recently ran into a woman I'd met in Haiti in 2008. She was surprised I remembered her, but I wasn't. Going to Haiti on a mission trip was life-changing. I think I remember everyone I met there. It was an experience I'll never forget.

At the time, I thought I'd like to return someday and bring my daughter with me. There were two young teenagers on our trip and I could tell that their lives would never be the same after going there. In fact, I think one will likely be a missionary, at least for part of her life. I wanted to bring my daughter, too, so she could see how other people live, and see how lucky we are in America and how much we take for granted. She's not a selfish girl at all, but she is perhaps a little sheltered. I want her to experience more than life at home. I wanted to take her to Haiti.

But now the subject has actually come up. Now my husband and I are actually considering making the same trip down there that I did years ago. And now that it's a possibility, I'm not sure about taking her after all.

So I decided the best course of action would be to make a Pro/Con list.

1. It would be a wonderful, life-altering experience.
2. She would love helping out in the orphanages and would be a big help.
3. Going as a family would be incredible. We could make sure she's safe, and we would always share in this experience.

1. Some parts of the trip are dangerous, as any trip to an impoverished nation is.
2. Some parts of the trip might scare her; seeing people hurt or begging might upset her too much.
3. The vaccinations, mosquitos, and potential for disease are real concerns.
4. The bus trips and sitting on the back of a tap-tap is almost a deterrent for me, let alone her. It's dangerous.
5. Selfishly, I don't know if I want to spend my vacation time volunteering this year.

But the biggest consideration is that she's not sure she wants to go. She would, and would willingly help out without complaining, but maybe we need to wait another year or two. In fact, I'm not sure I've quite recovered from the 2008 trip. I may need another year or two myself.


  1. Looks like the scales are tipped in a certain direction right now. But you know, Haiti isn't going anywhere. (And even if it magically transformed overnight, there would be other places to volunteer.) So if you guys think you should wait, I see no reason not to.

    1. Yep. That's how I deciphered the Pro/Con list, too. It helped to write it down.