The following was written for Watch The Yard by Kamelah Muhammad
Most wouldn’t consider Haiti a travel destination especially to celebrate a milestone. However, my sorority sisters and I wanted to help change that narrative by celebrating our 10 year anniversary as members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Inc. (Beta Alpha, Spring 2009) by completing service projects and sisterhood activities throughout the country. Our hope is to positively sway perceptions of the country while also influencing more avid travelers to make Haiti a preferred destination. We hope to accomplish this through our individual praises of the country, and the debut of a documentary that chronicles our service projects, cultural exchanges and the camaraderie we shared. The documentary is set to be released by the end of summer where we will also host a viewing tour & discussions.
Our anniversary trip to Haiti was inspired by our collective desire to serve others while bringing awareness to a country that has been under tense media scrutiny. The trip was orchestrated by one of our soror’s marketing and hospitality firm, FloreMarie Consulting.
Her passion for creating authentic cultural experiences brought us to her family’s homeland where we were warmly welcomed by the people with traditional Haitian food, fresh mangoes, and expansive, scenic views. Our 5-day trip included multi-layered service projects in the communities of Leogane and Fayette and were in partnership with two of the sorors’ organizations who attended the trip, Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart, Inc. (focused on teen girl & women empowerment) and Fort Negrita, LLC (focused on sustainability & environmental awareness). Our service projects included:
- A library makeover inclusive of interior and exterior improvements such as painting, new books and courtyard greenery at l’Ecole de la Redemption in Leogane, Haiti.
- A reusable menstrual pad workshop in the community of Fayette, where we participated in a “pad party” and hand-made economical, healthy, and environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional disposable menstrual products.
- A medical supply drop-off in the Fayette community, making basic first aid supplies accessible to people living remotely.
- A beach cleanup where we filled a 30-gallon bag with trash that floated ashore on the Cote de Arcadins Beach.
During our stay, we conceptualized photoshoots in various areas of the country to showcase its raw beauty and to tell a full story of the rich culture and rich history. Each fashion selection was strategically picked to make a connection back to the revolution and pride Haiti embodies. The green swimsuits with the red berets paid homage to the military forces that led Haiti to be the first Black Republic in the Western Hemisphere. The red dresses represented unity, elegance and grace; all attributes of DST and Haiti alike.
We stayed at two resorts during our trip: quaint Le Boucanier Beach et Resort and the beautiful Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa in Montrouis. We concluded our trip bonding through sisterhood activities, rejuvenation and relaxation. Staying at the resorts was also a way for us to highlight the tourism industry side of Haiti.
Sisterhood to me is more than just about joining an organization together. It is about accountability and being supportive. It is about being there for one another through life’s pains and joys. It is about pushing each other to be our best selves. Lastly, the root of it is about friendship.
This trip is an experience we will never forget. It is only the first of many to Haiti to continue to support the communities through school renovations, first aid care and the creation of reusable pads. To learn more about our efforts or to donate, visit ENT55.com/Haiti.