Preparing for Haiti – a volunteer’s perspective

by Bec Cross (volunteer for 2013 Trip, and participant on the 2012 trip)

It finally happened. Today’s the day when I realised that I leave for the H2H3 trip next week… I had a similar bomb dropping moment last year when I was preparing for the H2H2 trip – although at least this year I’ve got a bit more of an idea about what I’m headed for and what I’ll need to pack accordingly. There are the obvious things I need to take like thin t-shirts, comfy walking shoes, a hat, swimmers, etc, etc… But there are also a few items that I wouldn’t have guessed the importance of:

  • A bandana to soak in water every 5 minutes to then wrap around my neck/head in an attempt to keep cool
  • SPF50 sport sunscreen that’s waterproof and sweat proof (I didn’t even know that existed!)
  • Rainbow spinny propeller hat (with the propeller firmly secured so it doesn’t break again from all the spinning the kids will do to it)
  • Bubble-swords to donate to some of the kids we meet
  • Pawpaw ointment for the sunburnt lips I’ll inevitably end up with despite the constant application of lipbalm

I chopped off my waist-length hair a few months ago so at least this time around I don’t have to worry figuring out how best to get all my hair out of my face while still being able to wear a hat. Being my usual control freak self, I’ve had a list of what to pack since I officially made the team – the problem will come with making sure my scatterbrains remember it all! Don’t worry though, I’ve already bought the jar of vegemite to share around!

Just like last year, being able to communicate with the rest of the team (despite being millions of kilometres away – thanks technology!) has been a great way to ease the load of preparation. With so much to do and organise but with so little time between work and study to do it all in, things can get overwhelming pretty easily – and we haven’t even left yet! But it seems like we’ve got a really great group of loveable oddballs on the team who are ready to lend a helping hand at a minute’s notice. It’s going to be fantastic when we actually get to meet up together (not only because I’ve been promised a slice of homemade American pie that’s going to be carted across the country for me to try!) but just to meet these people who I’m going to share a truly life changing experience with is a memory that I cant wait to make!

I’ve still got the giant bundle of anxious nerves that I had last year too, but I know the beauty of both the country and the people that I’m heading towards this time, and I cant help but smile whenever I think of them and the amazing friendships I’m going to establish/renew. Here’s to being in the air on my way in less than a week’s time!

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