MILWAUKEE (April 18, 2012) - Senior Alex Klawitter of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team went on a trip over her Spring Break. But, unlike most college students who get away to spend time having fun with friends, she spent her time away from home on a mission trip to Haiti.
Klawitter traveled with a group of 15 people from Cornerstone Church in Milwaukee. The group left March 16 and returned March 24, spending time in the Haitian cities of Zorange and Pine Forest.
The following story comes directly from Alex in her own words.
"My trip to Haiti was wonderful, and I will never forget the experiences I had there. We landed in Port Au Prince and drove up the mountains to Zorange. The drive to Zorange was difficult for me because of the poverty and ruin that I saw. Buildings and homes were still broken down and abandoned from the earthquake that destroyed the nation in 2010. Some families still lived in tents because they could not afford to build a new home, or they were afraid that another earthquake would destroy a home that they moved into.
It was heartbreaking for me to see children begging for money. They came right up to our car window saying, "God bless you. Give me dollar." I am sure that is what they were taught to say, and that was the only English they knew. After this long trip up the mountain, we arrived in a church community in Zorange. We were greeted by loving families and orphans. I instantly fell in love with these people. They did not have much, but their love and joy was powerful. I will never forget what they painted above the dining table: "We loves you so much." They were all so wonderful, and I miss them very much.
One of the little girls there, Katushia, gave me her headband on the first night. They made us feel so welcome. We had a church service/meeting every night that we were in Haiti. We prayed for healing in people who had back problems, headaches, illnesses and women who could not get pregnant. We also prayed for revival throughout the whole country.
One thing that I found surprising was that there were no trash cans in Haiti (or at least I did not see any), so they threw all their garbage on the ground. There was trash everywhere, so we wanted to bless them by picking up the trash on the church property. They thought it was weird for us to be picking up the trash, but some of the kids helped out, and we filled 30 large trash bags in their property alone. The area looked so much better and cleaner.
We also made multiple trips to get water for cooking, cleaning and showering. There were no running water systems to the compound up in the mountains, so we had to fill up buckets with water in the water station about a half a mile away. It was fascinating to see how strong the women were in Haiti. They carried things up and down the mountain on their heads! It was amazing.
There was also construction of a mission house (which is in one of my pictures), but they ran out of supplies and money before we got there, so we could not build it. However, we should be able to work on it the next time we take a trip to Haiti (probably in November).
We also made a pinata out of empty water bottles and a swing for the children in the church. That was so much fun for the kids. We also had a talent show one night. The music and dancing by the Haitian people was amazing.
One of the days, we climbed up one of the mountains next to the church. That was challenging but very beautiful once we got to the top. We slept in tents every night. The Haitians were always willing to give up their beds for us to sleep in.
One of the most memorable experiences for me was being baptized with some of the Haitians in a river near the church in Zorange. It was so beautiful and special. It was heartbreaking to leave, but I plan to visit again.
Traveling to the Pine Forest was an adventure. We sat/stood in the back of the pick-up trucks on gravel roads up and down the mountains to the Pine Forest. It was so beautiful there, and the people were just as welcoming. We gave the children small gifts and they were so thankful. It was awesome to see them light up after getting a piece of candy, a bracelet, a toy car, a balloon or bubbles.
The one thing that I missed the most when we were in Haiti was American bathrooms. I loved the trip, but I am very thankful that I live in America. This trip was a very humbling experience for me, and I really appreciate all I have in America. I made life-long friends in Haiti. Even though we spoke different languages, we connected so well. I learned some Creole also. I went to Haiti to bless the people there, but I feel like they blessed me more than I blessed them."(Release courtesy of Milwaukee Athletics)
Tags: Milwaukee - Women's Basketball