Ron Wyatt - 2015 Program Participant
Why did you decide to volunteer abroad?
I felt led to share the blessings in my life with those less fortunate. I was touched by the devastation caused by the earthquake and I wanted to help. I have travelled quite a bit and I wanted to go on an adventure.
Why did you choose The Fuller Center for Housing?
I knew people who had worked with the Fuller Center, both in the U.S. and abroad. I liked the model that Fuller works from, a hand up, not a hand out. I joined a group going to Haiti from a town near me. After my first trip, I saw that Fuller Center was really making a difference and I wanted to continue.
At Lambi, a community in Gressier, near the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake
What was your favorite part about Haiti?
The Haitian people are amazing. They are the friendliest people I have ever met anywhere in the world. I was able to work alongside ordinary Haitians to build a village to house people displaced by the earthquake. I made lifelong friendships with several Haitians. Although poor in material things, they are spiritually rich. Haiti is a beautiful country; the mountains are majestic and the Caribbean Sea is blue and sparkling. There is a lot of untapped potential there.
What makes the The Fuller Center for Housing unique?
Fuller Center is unique because of the local partnerships they develop. The local partner in Haiti, Grace International, has been in existence for over 40 years. The combination of Grace and Fuller is extremely effective because of the local connections.
How did The Fuller Center local staff support you throughout your program?
The local staff is fantastic. Jonny, Jude, Jennel, David, and many others took great care of us. As we got to know each other, they shared their personal stories. We were invited into their homes and shared many meals. I felt like I was really part of their team. They accommodated any need we had. That said, Haiti is a developing nation, so you should not expect any luxury.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
I can't identify one thing. Each trip was better than the last. I'm looking forward to returning in 2016.
Describe a day in the life of your program.
The sun rises over the Artibonite mountains; Haiti begins to awake. You can smell the cooking fires and hear the sounds of families getting ready to meet the day. After a filling breakfast of crepes or Haitian spaghetti, chased down with strong, black coffee, it is off to the worksite. The trip to the worksite is an adventure. The roads can be rough and they are crowded.
Once at the site, you will join the Haitian work crew. There is no electricity, so construction is done the old fashioned way. Depending on where the project is, you may work in concrete, roofing, painting, or other preparation jobs. No skills are required; they will teach you what you need to know. Lunch is brought to the site and provides a welcome break from the heat and humidity.
After lunch, you continue working on the Haitian work crew. You can use this time to make new friends as you work. Around 4 p.m the bus comes to pick you up and return you to the oasis of the hotel. Dinner is served around 6 p.m. There is a lovely swimming pool to relax and cool off in. Sunset is as beautiful as sunrise. As darkness falls you see how little light there really is.
Made new friends during my recent trip to Haiti
What was your favorite activity outside the normal day-to-day schedule of your program?
I enjoyed working in a boys orphanage in Carrefour. The boys are really starved for attention. We played basketball and card games and it touched my heart. I also enjoyed traveling up into the mountains to visit a mission. It was much cooler and extremely beautiful, and the views were breathtaking. I enjoyed visiting a jewellery making business as well. I saw the production of clay beads fired in a kiln and bracelets and earrings made of cereal boxes; they were amazing.
What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?
The accommodations were very clean and staff was friendly and helpful. The food was great. Note, you will be served hamburgers and pizza a lot unless you request otherwise. We asked for local food at every meal and this request was met with smiles and resulted in many great meals and a few surprises. The papaya smoothie and Haitian spaghetti for breakfast are only a couple of examples.
Now that you're home, how has volunteering in Haiti impacted your life?
It changed my life. I am very thankful for my many blessings. My experience in Haiti has made me realize how fortunate I am. I am driven to return and share the blessings God has given me.