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Building My Family A Home-HAITI

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I was adopted into the VanTrease family 16 days after My 4th birthday from an orphanage in port au prince Haiti. Just this past February (2019) my adoptive mom provided me with information that enabled me to get in contact with my birth family. Within hours I was in touch with them and was intrigued to learn of everyone I left behind. It didn’t take long before I knew I had to go meet them all in person. Knowing that the country of Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and that there is a lot of political unrest, I had very mixed emotions about traveling there for the first time. But the excitement of meeting my birth family outweighed any traveling hesitation and I promptly booked the soonest flight available.

Spending over a week with my birth family was an experience like no other! I was taking in sights and information like a sponge. The very first concept I realized about the Haitian people is how selfless and positive one could be with little to no resources. Over 90% of the country lives in extreme poverty. The average Haitian household does not have running water, electricity, or anything close to the luxurious items we enjoy day to day.

To give a better perspective on what life is like for my family, I’ll walk you through an average day. The days start early, around 6am, with a walk to the neighborhood water pump to collect water for household tasks and carry it in buckets, such as bathing, toileting, washing cloths, dishes and cleaning. The water is not suitable for drinking. After everyone is dressed for the day my mother gets my sister and cousin ready for school. School is expensive in Haiti and it is looked at as a luxury to be able to attend grade school. I have 3 little brothers, Clevance (3), John-Peter (6), and Lutherson (9) and 3 younger sisters Clamina (1), (Jennica (11), and Geraldine (17). My mother and stepfather are also raising my 8 year old cousin, Chino and are taking care of my elderly grandmother. During the day we walk to the local market to get items that would parish quickly if not used same day due to heat. After the daily cleaning, food prep, and errands finished the sun starts to set and my family gathers together for music, dancing, and endless laughs. You can’t help but feel wholesome in the moment. The average Haitian household eats one large meal a day and a small snack given to younger kids in the evening. Quite a difference from the standard three meals, dessert, and snack routine that we keep up in the states.

Haitian people live off of $2-$5 a day! Which is barely a coffee for us in the states, just to give some perspective on quality of life. Spending the day in my mothers home was a very humbling experience. My family lives in a two room home. Not two bedrooms, physically two rooms. Their home is furnished with two mattresses and a few plastic chairs. Space was tight to say the least and with a dead phone, no AC and humid, 95 degree weather you can’t help but to enjoy the company of others. Getting to know my family members individually was the best part of the trip! Haitian people carry a sense of pride and gratitude on levels I’ve never experienced and it grew excitement in me!! Coming home from Haiti sparked all the ideas in the world in my head! I couldn’t stop telling everyone about how I’m going to change the country. I needed to start with something realistic and decided to invest my savings into paying for my siblings’ schooling and building a home for my birth family in hopes of providing a better quality of life for my younger siblings. With the endless support of my parents, family members and the community I really hope to positively impact the future of my baby siblings.

Thank you for reading my story and if you find it in your heart to help, my sister has created this gofundme account: If you have any questions I’d love to connect over Email: [email redacted]

Fundraising team: Fundraiser Team (2)

Briahna VanTrease
Kent, WA
Germanie VanTrease
Team member

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