Ohio Wesleyan Student Group Visits Haiti for Service, Strategy

New video created to promote the HaitiOWU Initiative

The HaitiOWU trip members in May included: Father Marc (top step), Tim O’Keefe ’14, Tara Cork ’14, Mery Kanashiro, Gretchen Curry 12’, Erika Nininger ’14, Shane Wepprich ’12, Haley Figlestahler ’13, Rachel Kulhanek ’13, Kelsey Ullom ’14, Brother Robert, Dorota Kendrick, and Kate Johnson ’14. (Photo courtesy of Kelsey Ullom ’14)

HaitiOWU Initiative members made their second trip to Haiti in May to visit Pwoje Espwa (Project Hope), an orphanage complex for children and youth near Les Cayes, Haiti in May. They performed service work and bonded with the children, while gathering information to take back to campus to plan future projects that will benefit this impoverished community.

Ten students were accompanied by Dorota Kendrick, assistant director, international and off-campus programs and Mery Kanashiro ’10, Ohio Campus Contact for AmeriCorps/VISTA for the OWU Community Service Learning Office. The trip was financed through a university theory-to-practice grant.

While at Pwoje Espwa, the group met with Father Marc, founder of the orphanage complex. They also painted the outside of a guest house and interacted with the children.

“Even though we don’t speak the same language, there’s a universal connection,” says Kelsey Ullom ’14. “We played a lot of games where you didn’t need to use words.”  She says that the group members now have many ideas for future projects.

Erika Nininger ’14 enjoys music with several children in Haiti. (Photo by Kelsey Ullom ’14)

They brought back drawings from the children, and paintings, jewelry and handcrafted items from local people. The HaitiOWU Initiative members plan to sell these items here, with all profits going to Pwoje Espwa.

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