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The following blog was written as part of a collaboration between students Bo Dodge; Kenneal Patterson; Cecilia Needham; Jacqueline Patel; Audrey Groves; Lily Fox; Rachel Harris; and Jayne Kay.

The first morning in Nordette, Haiti, we woke up on the cement floor of a schoolhouse and had breakfast with the locals. Our interactions were very basic, and mostly included smiles and high fives. After breakfast we attended a church service that lasted four hours. Although it was extremely long, it helped immerse everyone into Haitian culture, and helped us begin to comprehend their views on religion, gratitude, and community.

This prompted conversations on how we can adjust to a completely different environment. Already, we’ve observed things like “Haiti Time,” which we’ve translated to mean the ability to just live in the moment, forgetting what’s ahead and focusing instead on what’s in front of you. We’ve also observed how the people of Nordette reach out to their community and rely on each other. Each day, our respect for Haitian culture grows, and despite language barriers, the locals remind us of our similarities through basic interactions.