Hello! I'm Claire - a summer intern for Dot this year! Before I "officially" started as a Dot intern, I had the chance to join six wonderful ladies brought together through Dot on a missions trip to Haiti. If I’m just being honest, I had no idea where we were specifically going in Haiti or what we were going to be doing. What unfolded throughout our weeklong stay in Galette Chambon, Haiti at the But God Ministries compound left me excited, thankful and inspired. Here's a snippet of our time there!
The sun came up at 4:45 every morning (a complete and total JOY for me as early mornings are quite possibly my favorite things ever), and we spent the day at a school that BGM sponsors kids at gathering information about the kids for the sponsors, getting measurements for school uniforms and serving the kids lunch. My primary job while at the school was to walk around and take pictures and videos to document our work and the sweet kids. The little boys LOVED dancing around like little crazy people while I videoed them and then watching the video. The laughter that came from watching those silly videos will always be one of my favorite memories from the trip.
Some (or most) afternoons we would nap, hang out, and complete various tasks. One afternoon we took a long walk through the village to see the houses that the Haitians live in. Their houses were small and extremely simple, but some had made their yard absolutely beautiful with gardens and flowers. All of the people in the village were so welcoming and kind as we walked around.
On Wednesday we took a day trip to Petionville, a city close to Port-au-Prince, to visit fabric stores to find possible options for fabric designs for future Dot products. We also took a detour to the Apparent Project to buy some souvenirs made by Haitians (and also eat some pizza, burgers, smoothies and use the Wi-Fi).
Throughout the week we worked with Nathan and Ruth, two Haitians who make the Dot pencil bags and are going to be making more products for us in the future. Hallie had many opportunities to sit down with them and talk through the logistics of getting those new products made.
On our last full day, Hallie and I visited Nathan’s house in the village to see the exact place where he has made all of Dot’s pencil bags thus far. This was a sweet moment for me. He has an old fashioned sewing machine in his home where he does all of his work with his wife and three adorable kids all in the same room. Seeing the people who are positively impacted by Dot, and realizing how Nathan can provide the most basic of needs for his family partly because of Dot, was so special and it made me just that much more excited to work for Dot this summer!
This trip was filled with absolutely amazing meals, many pieces of mango, lots of bug bites, too many granola bars, early mornings and early bedtimes, lovely moments with some of the sweetest kids there are, hot but beautiful walks to the school, a lot of hilarious conversations with us trying to speak Creole (and a lot of smiling and nodding), a lot of time staring at the beautiful mountains right in front of us, a few rides down the bumpiest road I’ve ever been on, and really awesome new friendships. God used this trip as a huge encouragement to me, and I think many of the other girls, too.
Now, I’m sitting here writing this in a room that is the size of an entire house in Haiti. My prayer is that I will not forget the people I met and the experiences I gained on this trip, and that I will continue to learn how to live in gratitude and humility. I hope you all have the opportunity to witness the beauty of the broken and God’s unwavering goodness in hardship like I did in Haiti.
Also, huge thanks to Tony and Mickie West and the rest of the BGM staff at Galette Chambon for hosting us, making us feel welcomed, and loving us so well while we were in Haiti. You, your family and your ministry will always be in my prayers. May God bless you for your willingness to live for Him and to love the Haitians in what only can be described as love fully empowered by the knowledge of God’s love for you.
Photos by Claire Winesett
Claire is an upcoming senior at Mississippi State University from Denver, Colorado. She studies communication with a minor in Spanish and is pursing a certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Claire loves early mornings, lots of coffee, traveling, and pizza of any kind.