My Trip to Haiti
I visited Haiti this past summer (because who doesn’t want to take a trip to Haiti in the middle of summer?) to volunteer with an incredible organization called The Vertile House. This kind of work is close to my heart, because my oldest son is adopted. He spent his first year in a sad, overcrowded orphanage in Russia, and I’ve always been grateful we could take him away from that place. Since then, I’ve visited several orphanages around the world, eager to learn more and to see how I could help.
I found out about The Vertile House through Streetside Studios, where I take dance classes. As I’d wait in the lobby for class to begin, I’d look at the photos of all these beautiful, happy Haitian children and was intrigued. I found out that the owner of Streetside, Rico Changeux, had founded the house, and was impressed by the community of people working hard to ensure these kids led happy, healthy lives. Several people at the studio had visited and loved their experience, so I decided to go.
The Kids of Vertile
The kids at The Vertile House are amazing. They’ve all had rough starts to their lives (you can read their individual stories here), and it’s obvious that they’re grateful to be there. Aside from being absolutely adorable, they are polite, affectionate, curious and very well-behaved. It felt so special to get to know each of these bright young children.
The Vertile House is more than just a place to live; it’s a community center, a place for at least 20 more children from the community to eat, play, and learn. It feels like the town’s community center for kids and teenagers.
It’s a small operation, with two house mothers and three men. The women manage the shopping, cooking, and cleaning (all in bulk and by hand), and the men are responsible for counseling, security, and repairs. They get a lot done and support the kids and one another like a big family. The house is nothing fancy, but it feels like home.
Even though it was (really) hot when I went, it was an unforgettable experience. When you’re there, you get a chance to see the children learning and growing, how the house functions, and the wonderful people that work there. Going down there to volunteer made me feel the direct impact Rico and the rest of his team are making in Carrefour. If you’re interested, I’d highly recommend going!