Hi all! It's Jamie here.
On my first day of work, Jim asked me if I'd go to Haiti to capture images for Rebuild Globally. He stated that it's an odd request and that he couldn't make me go but I quickly responded, "I want to." With six days left in my twenty sixth year, I had my camera and snacks in my lap as we descended into Haiti and the mountains came in view.
Jim has been partnering with Rebuild since they started in 2010, right after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. They are a nonprofit that provides education and work training programs for Haitians, empowering them to take charge of their future and end the cycle of poverty. With that in mind, I hopped off the plane with eyes wide ready to take in all that I could in just three short days.
I rode in the back of a pickup truck with some of the team as we headed to the workshop on the bumpy backroad that avoided traffic and overloaded my senses. Every building covered with the richest colors you can think of, the sounds of horns and motorcycles zooming by, and games of dominoes happening beneath the shade of the trees on the side of the road next to piles of trash. The harsh reality of the developing country hit me. Such beauty and such poverty all in one place. But there they all were, looking so content sitting down, or strolling by on their way to live another day.
The island breeze blew as Marco opened the gate and we pulled into the workshop. It felt like a hidden oasis. Every tree creating a bright, green canopy over this place that felt like a safe haven for all who entered. Smiles were on every face as Julie, the founder, and the team hopped out of the car and into the arms of the people that they've provided hope and employment for. We spent our whole time here interviewing and capturing images of the life of Rebuild. Whether we were capturing the artisans making products in the Deux Mains workshop or being a fly on the wall in the Work Training Program, it was beautiful to see hope in their smiles and hear it in their interviews.
I would step foot into the workshop, the sounds of the sewing machine mixed with laughter and music greeted me. Deux Mains is the sustainable fashion company that Rebuild has developed. Each person working with their two hands on a different part of the shoes, bags, earrings and more that Deux Mains creates. Talent filled the room and these hardworking individuals were inspiring me with each stitch sown and sandal made.
I can't remember this boy's name but he made a moment for all of us during lunch. He loves math and says he'll be a doctor one day. His favorite song played as he stole everyone's attention with each of his smooth dance moves. All those surrounding were filled with joy, laughter and a desire to move right along with him. Nothing else mattered in that moment and it'll stick with me for quite some time. It was an honor to work alongside Rebuild and capture the little moments that make up the dreams they are developing in these children and adults. I only wish I knew French or Creole so I could have done more than point at my camera when they wanted photos.
On our last day at Rebuild, the students came in for their Education Training Program. As they were taking notes during their tutoring session, this girl looked up at me and asked if taking photos was my passion. Shocked that she knew English, I paused before saying that I love capturing moments. She laughed and said, "It's all you seem to do." I quickly agreed. Filled with curiosity, I could see her desire to seek out her passion and follow her dreams with every question she continued to ask.
If I learned anything in my short time in Haiti, it's that you can make a comeback. This country has struggled through so much, but I believe that with the help of companies like Rebuild Globally, their comeback is happening now.
Thanks for recapping my trip with me! I hope that you're inspired to keep dreaming and keep doing. If you'd like to support Rebuild Globally head on over to their site to learn how you can help end poverty.