Organization hosts fundraiser to benefit second trip to Haiti

While many students spent last spring break at the beach or with family, some faculty and members of the RSO Alternative Breaks spent theirs in Desab, Haiti, offering assistance to those in need.

Bethany Oliver, coordinator of leadership and volunteerism, was one of more than a dozen people who traveled to Haiti spring 2015.

She said this was her third time in the country, but her first time being in a village with so few resources.

Being in Desab helped her answer one life question, she said.

“Do I genuinely love to travel and help others, or do I just like the idea of it? Is this what I was put on this earth to do or am I trying to force a lie?” she said.

The trip was a difficult one, she said. Students and faculty alike left the comforts of home to travel to a foreign place. There was no electricity or air conditioning, but at the end one thing became clear to them all.

“Material things didn’t matter anymore and no one wanted to leave,” she said.

Students will have the opportunity to support the group’s next trip to Haiti, happening over Thanksgiving break, this Tuesday evening.

Alternative Breaks is hosting a fundraiser, featuring an international buffet style dinner, at the amphitheater 6 p.m to 8 p.m., and plates will cost $5.

Oliver said the organization hopes to raise enough money from fundraising to help with students’ payments.

“It will give us an opportunity to share information about the trip with those that attend and possibly recruit a couple more students to participate in November,” she said.

English as Second Language instructor Mary Beth Willis said she had also been on volunteer trips before but the trip last spring was the first time she was able to stay within the community.

“It was really amazing for me,” she said. “It really changed my outlook on things.”

The people of the town made the group feel like part of the community, she said, including them in meals and events.

“Around 8 p.m. someone in the community would bring out the drums, and people would come out to sing and play music,” she said. “It was amazing to hear the passion behind their voices and the energy in the drum beats.”

They may not have food to eat tomorrow or a place for their children to go to school, but they celebrate life anyway, she said.

Willis said she will be a part of the group going back in November.

“We’ll be completing some of the construction projects they have going on,” she said.

There will be more fundraisers throughout the semester until Thanksgiving break.