Hi friends!! Welcome back to our sweet little blog! Herein, we pass on all sorts of stories, experiences, photos, and tips and tricks from our past Haiti missions to you and your future missions. If you’re not planning on going on a mission, that’s okay! We will take any excuse we have to share!
But who knows…
maybe you’ll get inspired
and change your mind!
I’m sure you have noticed (and if you haven’t yet, you soon will) that our posts accentuate our adoration for the Haitians. From the people that pass through our clinics to the people we pass on the streets, we have shared a countless amount of rewarding interactions. Some of our experiences are as intricate as stitching up a wound or handling their children, whereas some interactions are as fleeting as a wave and smile. Flourish Collective is continually striving to create and maintain strong and trustworthy relationships with the Haitians. When we aren’t working our clinics, we venture into the surrounding communities, immersing ourselves in the seas of people. We thought it would be fun to start introducing to you some of the people that we were able to spend a little more time with during our missions.
One of the more intimate interactions we have had in Haiti unfolded in two parts. We first met Miss Fifi when she came through one of our clinics in the town of Thomassique. In an effort to make the community feel heard and involved, we held a mini meeting with the members of this community where we asked them questions in which the answers would help us shape our efforts and goals for the future. Rather than assuming what we think Haiti needs, we want to hear directly from the people who work to survive there every single day. Through grievances of no clean water, minimal job opportunities, poor and unaffordable health care, and several other issues, Madame Fifi stood out as a vigorous and passionate voice for her people, dually providing us with advantageous feedback for our research. After the heat of the meeting, Fifi asked us to write down the name of our organization and how to pronounce it so that later she could pray for us. We exchanged hugs as she left and continued to talk about how much that woman warmed our hearts that day, not expecting to cross paths with her again.
Routine prevailed a few days later as the locals set up shop along the streets. Every Wednesday and Friday are known as Market Day. This is one of the few opportunities that the Haitians have to earn a living. Lining the streets among the houses are booths and stands selling beans, grains, rice, potatoes, lettuce, onions, candies, soaps for washing clothes, and even personal services such as sewing or cooked foods. Haitians of all ages are pedaling their products while its hard to find many that can afford it.
As we bustled through the crowd we ran into a smile that we could NOT forget... Fifi! She lived in a small pink house tucked between the stands. She quickly invited us in, though only about 4 could fit at a time. Haitians who have homes are extremely proud of them. They have worked hard for that shelter and for every single thing they own inside. Even if they have one chair, one plate, one spoon, they will proudly share it with you. We filtered through Madame Fifi’s home taking turns sitting in the two chairs and a bed that she had. She had one small carpet, one shelf and a bunch of little trinkets and decorations. We passed around hugs and smiles a snapped a picture of the beautiful Fifi before we continued to the market. Though also short, our special moment with Miss Fifi reminded us how important it is to create relationships with the Haitians. We truly feel like Madame Fifi trusts us to make a difference for her and her community and we don't plan on letting her down!
Look at the smile on miss Jessie Spurgeon! She is such a genuine and inspiring human and we are truly lucky to have her as an ambassador here at Flourish! Jessie and Jamie became friends just months before Jamie’s 2015 mission. “When she came back and I saw how truly different she looked and heard the amazing stories she told, I knew I had to go back with her the next year.” So in 2016 Jessie packed her bags and joined Jamie as a support staffer through the next mission. Her favorite part of her mission was seeing new sides of the friends that she had traveled with. “I literally cried multiple times at the kindness and love I had seen in others in the group. So many people's strengths were entirely amplified in Haiti, and it was beautiful to see how everybody's strengths complimented each other.” Don’t worry Jess, tears are NOT uncommon in Haiti. If you guys ever make it on a mission you’ll quickly find that it is a rather emotional experience! “Haiti is magical and brings out emotions you never knew you had or expected to find within yourself.”
Fun fact about Jessie? Heck yeah! Jess is one of two professional photographers that have gone on our Haiti missions. Jamie and Jessie both own their own photography businesses here in Boise. Most of the photos that you see throughout our website and this blog are from Jamie (Glean+Co) and Jessie (HumanKind Photography). Check out some of these incredible photos that Jessie took on her 2016 mission!
A Haiti mission is an experience which notoriously leaves an impact on each of its goers. "The experience, the Haitian people, and being a part of such special people within the Flourish Collective is entirely life changing." Many members come back and have different ways of seeing things and often times create humble new goals or standards for their life. "After traveling to Haiti, and then Guatemala City this past year, I have made it a personal goal of mine to donate 17% of all of the profits from my photography business back into nonprofits like Flourish and the nonprofit in Guatemala, Lemonade International."
Way to go, Jess!
Jessie brings so much light and positivity to our mission and goals towards developing and empowering the communities of Haiti. We hope that her experience and story has inspired you as much as she inspires us every day!
As always, don't forget to share Flourish Collective, our website, our blog, and our missions with your friends and family! The more people involved, the bigger difference we make!