Helping Hands in Haiti

Sophomore travels overseas for community service

Katie Upton, Fall 2015 J1 Student

Many students choose different ways to help their community such as helping at local food kitchens, helping at nursing homes or picking up trash.

However, for sophomore Annie Overman, she chose to complete her community service a little differently.

Last January, Overman went abroad to Haiti on a mission trip to serve a small community.

“The village we went to was called Merotte, and the city that was in was called Arcahaie, which is on the West coast [of Haiti],” Overman said.

Overman said she became interested in going on these trips through her church, Lord of Life Lutheran Church.

New photoshop
Sophomore Annie Overman sits with her three photo albums of her mission trips to Haiti. Overman’s mother made these books for her after each trip, filled with all the photos that were taken while in Haiti. “My mom made all of these [books] so I can really remember my experience and I can show other people the kinds of things we did [in Haiti],” Overman said. Photo by Katie Upton.
“My church had been going for 10 or 12 years before [I decided to go], and they would always come back and tell stories about it,” Overman said. “It seemed pretty cool.”

Overman said she went to Haiti with a group of people who go annually to help the villagers.

“[We went with] the Haiti Mission team but it’s mostly adults [in our church],” Overman said.  “Not very many old people but more middle-aged people, 20-something adults and a few teenagers.”

With these people, Overman said they did many different things during their time at the village.

“In the Vacation Bible School [that my church hosted], we’d have a few preschool teachers that came with us to help us with that,” Overman said. “[Teenagers] mostly did Vacation Bible School. We also had a few doctors in the church that came to work in the medical clinic.”

Overman said she still communicates with a few of the people she went with today.

“The translators that were with us all the time have Facebook, and we Facebook chat sometimes,” Overman said. “I still talk with some of the people [I went with] when I see them at church.”

Overman has been to Merotte three times now and is planning on a fourth in January 2016.

“The second and third year, going back and seeing all the kids again and them remembering me [was my favorite part of the trip],” Overman said.

She said there were many things that were interesting and different that the people there did.

“Since most of the people couldn’t afford security for their house, almost all the houses had a cement wall around them, and on top [of the wall] was broken glass bottles so people couldn’t climb it,” Overman said. “Some of the rich people had barbed wire but most people just had the broken glass.”

Overman said there were many factors that took a toll on her outlook on life.

“[The people in Haiti] definitely put things in perspective like everything they don’t have and we do — like material things, yet they can still be so happy with life which is cool because it shows how we take things for granted sometimes,” Overman said.

Junior Whitney Hinmon also recently went on a mission trip to Haiti and said the experience was eye-opening.

“It made me more appreciative of everything I have, and I realized how truly blessed I am,” Hinmon said.