by Connor Kennedy
This winter I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a portion of my break on a Branch Out International Trip to Cap Haitien, Haiti. It is an experience I will never forget. I have known that I hope to one day work in international development for quite some time now. However, that is easier said than done. I viewed this opportunity as a step in the right direction, as I had never before been to a developing country. My experience with Branch Out was wonderful in preparing our team on the culture, lifestyle, and history of a country I previously knew little about. Of course I remembered the earthquake that left Haiti so devastated only a few years ago, but apart from other limited knowledge, I really did not know much about the country I had committed to traveling to and working in for a week’s time. Even our preparation, weekly meetings, and the knowledge I had previously had about developing countries could not prepare me for when we finally arrived in Haiti. Cap Haitien was vibrant, colorful, full of life and people walking around everywhere and riding five to a motorcycle. The city and its landscape were beautiful with miles and miles of blue coastline. What I was less prepared for was just how different the country was…the roads largely unpaved except for very busy streets, with no central electricity and mostly no plumbing, was a far cry from anywhere I had ever been before. What struck me the most were the countless stray dogs, goats, cows, chickens, etc. that seemed to roam anywhere and everywhere at all hours of the day.