International Project

Posted: November 16, 2010

Haiti’s need recognized by students

By Jeffrey Riley

Talon Staff Writer

“It’s heartbreaking to see such unnecessary suffering,” said senior Fiona Cummings. “The buildings were rubble which forced people to live in cardboard boxes and we had to turn away kids who needed water because of the limited amount,” explained Cummings of the June term trip she took last year.

Even though the 7.0 magnitude earthquake occurred back in January, the disaster is all too current for survivors. Haiti was among the poorest countries in the world prior to the earthquake and conditions dramatically decreased after. With approximately 200,000 dead, one million homeless and a recent cholera outbreak sickening over 3,000,  do the people of the United States still recognize the extent of the disaster?

“We don’t want students to forget,” said International Project intern Madeline Myers. “It’s easy to be apathetic about a disaster that happened so far away, months ago.”

In order to keep this issue prominent in the minds of students, international project interns decided to make Haiti the focus for this school year. Being the first year where students were put in charge of managing the international project, students should expect to see changes from previous years.

The idea of healing a country may seem a bit lofty and more than a small private school in Minnesota may be able to handle, but the International Project interns have an answer. The year will be split up into trimesters, with a separate focus for each phase. The first will primarily focus on hunger, the second on water and the third will be education oriented.

“Our primary goal is to raise awareness and keep students informed in our school,” said Myers. “We can’t let people forget about the horrible conditions.”

In order to raise awareness, students should expect to see many interactive events.

“Student participation is key,” said Myers. “We want people to care.” Events students can expect to see this year will range from trips to Feed My Starving Children to 30-hour Famine and using limited water for a week to a five-k run/walk.

The first of these took place on September 24. Participants engaged in activities such as building a tent from materials limited to a simple tarp and rope on the ground. They also experienced the process of finding their own sources of water which was limited. This exercise gave participants perspective on the lives that Haitians are currently living.

“It was a great activity for people to get together and talk about Haiti,” said Cummings. “With only few supplies, you had to use whatever you can get your hands on to make it work.”

Along with raising awareness, International Project interns also hope to help in the financial area. Monetary donations from students will go to organizations such as Healing Haiti in order to assist in the attempt to restore and rebuild the country.

“Not only is the country only 90 miles away,” said history teacher Elizabeth VanPilsum, “but also in indescribable need.”

You may also like…

U.S. attempt to ‘kill the Indian, save the man’

Government and Church run boarding schools horrific history Less than 100 years ago in the turbulent 1930s a child was taken from his family and forced to attend a boarding school in South Dakota. This school (as well as more than 500 others which operated in...

1 in 6 Minnesotans go hungry

Why many neighbors struggle to meet basic needs, and how you can help As humans, we constantly rely on food to survive, and it should be a right to have access to it. However, that is far from the truth of our society today. In 2021, 483,000 people in Minnesota...

Learning From Living Abroad: Mexico

From sunshine and mountains to ice and snow, M.A. family combines cultures Once you enter Minnehaha Academy Upper School, you see several students just existing. Little do you know, there are multiple students with different cultural backgrounds. One of those students...

Learning from living abroad; Romania

Revisiting Romanian roots Many people have explored different cities, traveled to different states, and maybe even visited foreign lands. But how many people can say that they were born and raised in a country other than the U.S.? For first-year Alexandra Radulescu...

Learning from Living Abroad: England

England packed with sights, fond memories Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in Europe? To be able to see Big Ben, The Eiffel Tower, or The Colosseum only a short trip away? For these three Minnehaha students, siblings senior Philip and first-year...