My life changed for the better the week of June 25th-July 1st, 2016.  I spent this week meeting Team Tassy’s families in the community of Menelas, Haiti, where I witnessed exactly what Team Tassy does, and met several of the lives which Team Tassy is changing every day.  I have never seen a more extreme country.  This country has so much beauty, yet so much pollution.  It has so much hope, yet so much devastation.  It has so much life, yet so much poverty.  I saw firsthand the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, and how it has affected the lives of Haiti.  It is very evident that Haiti does not need to be fixed; it needs help to rebuild.  Have you ever walked into your family’s home at Christmas after being away for some time, and the entire house smells like Christmas dinner? That instant feeling you get of love and a warm welcome that wraps you up in your entirety.  That’s how I felt with every family I had the privilege of meeting.  The kindness and generosity they show you is unparalleled.  If you ask any Haitian what they need, they will tell you a job.  Having a job in Haiti allows them to have the independence and dignity to be contributing members of their country.  And perhaps most importantly, it allows them to give their families a chance at a life away from poverty.

My entire running career has been a selfish one.  I’ve always wanted to beat my time, I’ve always wanted to place in a race and I’ve always wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  It’s neverending.  My training has always been designed to make me faster, stronger, and to ultimately achieve all of those goals I just listed.  Each tempo, fartlek, speed and long run has been solely to benefit myself.  But after achieving all of my running goals thus far, I still felt unfulfilled with my love for running.  I craved something bigger, something that paired my passion for running with my passion for helping others, but I didn’t know what that was.  Until I was introduced to Paige Marzinzik and Team Tassy.  Paige ran across Haiti in 2016, which gave me more inspiration than I ever thought was possible.  I knew the moment I found out about Team Tassy was the moment I found out what I was meant to do.  

So, why run across Haiti? Why put my body through 371km over only 8 days?  This distance seems absurd to some people, nearly impossible to others.  But for me, it signifies how ‘one foot in front of the other’ creates a movement.  Every km I cover creates an opportunity for a Team Tassy family member to get a job.  Every step that I take means that one of the Team Tassy kids are able to go to school.  Every black and blue toenail and every blister I get means access to health care.  I’m running across Haiti to show how beautiful this country is and to show that Haiti is not a place to be feared or pitied.  I’m running across Haiti to show how possible it is to make a difference by doing something you love.  I’m running to inspire others, I’m running to end poverty, and I’m running for all the people of Haiti.  

For more information about coming on a trip with us to Haiti, go to www.dowork.org/visit-haiti/

EngagementVivien Luk