This summer, the student organization Ann Prepare Lavni (APL) embarked on its maiden trip to Anse-á-Pitres, a small border town in Haiti with a population of about 8,000 people.
For this first trip, only the president and founder of APL, Carolina Tavárez, was able to go, though a future trip is planned for December in which more members should be able to attend.
Tavárez is currently a senior at UC Davis, majoring in Spanish with an emphasis in Latin American and Caribbean studies and minoring in education.
Ann Prepare Lavni is a Haitian Creole phrase meaning “Let us prepare the future.”
The goal of APL according to its mission statement is “[To provide] an enhanced learning environment and [promote] educational advancement throughout the community of Anse-à-Pitres — while simultaneously offering college students hands-on global service learning experience that allows them to apply their academic knowledge of their prospective disciplines.”
During this first trip Tavárez was able to give the children of Anse-à-Pitres the educational supplies that had been donated prior to the trip. She was also able to work closely with a wide range of kids between first to sixth grade.
“[The experience was] life-changing,” Tavárez said in an email. “The students love to learn and to go to school. For them going to school is an essential part of their lives. They were so happy and grateful for everything we sent them.”
Though the other members of APL were unable to make the trip they still felt the same joy that Tavárez felt knowing the impact they made on the children’s lives.
“We were really happy to see all the kids’ faces and know that they are learning a lot and they had all the supplies needed to start learning,” said Vice President of APL Jennifer Vergara in an e-mail.
Vergara, a fourth-year biochemistry and molecular biology major, didn’t attend this trip, but will be going on the second trip in December.
Lidia Tavárez, co-founder and media and publicity administrator, chimed in with her thoughts on their first trip. Lidia is a senior at Sacramento State studying psychology and neuroscience. Even though she was unable to go, she is happy knowing that she still did her part for the cause.
“[I am] amazed on how everything turned out,” Lidia said in an email. “Carolina was able to help over 200 children and their families with all the donations provided in California and the Dominican Republic.”
APL received a two-acre plot of land from the Haitian government with which they plan to build the first and only library for Anse-á-Pitres.
For the future, APL is attempting to raise $42,000 for building materials. An architect and construction firm has donated their time and efforts for the cause. The people of Anse-á-Pitres have also volunteered for the labor needs.
Events are slated in the future to help raise funds. The first event will be at 6 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2012 at the Davis International House.
“As long as there are people like us, giving the small things we don’t need or have in abundance, those children have a brighter future,” Lidia said.
ANDREW POH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.