You won’t find many people clamoring for a vacation to Haiti. The country, which is on the United Nations Least Developed Country list, has taken as many body shots as a prizefighter with the apparent knock-out blow coming in the form of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in January 2010.
That didn’t deter Plymouth admissions rep John Pulley from using his time to serve the Haitian people. Pulley, along with nine others from River Valley Church in Minnetrista, embarked on an eight-day mission trip to the Caribbean country with Global Outreach International.
“It’s hard to put it all into words, but it was an excellent experience,” Pulley said. “I would definitely go back or on a mission trip someplace else. It was a lot of hard labor in 95 degree heat – a lot of sweat equity – but very rewarding at the same time. You come back [to the United States] and you can’t help but have a broader perspective on things.”
Pulley’s typical day consisted of construction work. The group built new shelves for Global Outreach’s burn clinic, repaired roofs over schools, helped build a church, worked on the foundation of a new house and repaired a 70-foot well. Pulley, with help from the Plymouth campus, was also able to bring over two suitcases full of peanut butter and vitamins – the two G.O.I requested items for the trip.
Global Outreach’s mission in Haiti is to reach out to the youth of the country in an effort to change what has been an unbreakable cycle of poverty. Almost 70 percent of the population is under 30, with 35 percent being under 14.
The group met many of the children from the schools their work benefited. According to Pulley, many of the children do not get the attention they deserve, with many eventually finding their way to the streets or being sold into virtual slavery to other families.
Pulley’s trip was summed up by an incident during a movie night that Global Outreach had set up for people living in one of the many tent villages…
“A few of us offered up our chairs for people from the tent city to sit down. About halfway through the movie a little kid climbed up me like a tree. I just held him for the rest of the movie and he fell asleep in my arms. That turned the whole experience around for me. It’s nice that you can help build roofs, but I realized I probably made more difference holding just holding that little child, because he may not get that ever. That was a revelation to me.”
The trip ended up making an impact on Pulley that will last a lifetime.
“After seeing what those people have gone and are going through, you get a new perspective on life. Things that otherwise might have bothered me seem pretty insignificant.”