Erin Perez

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Days 5-6

The visit to Menelas was so many things. Seeing the children who have made the effort to show up and learn and invest in the future for their families is so inspiring. Most of these children live in the landfill and this is their only opportunity to learn and make a way out of poverty. You wouldn’t know they live in such conditions by the smiles and joy on their faces.  Although they decorated the classrooms for us and made us feel welcome it really is them who should be celebrated.

The people are hardworking and struggling, but surviving, grateful, and hungry for opportunity. Seeing the children, teachers, Carmitha, and Giordani and the drive and passion, appreciation, and pride in their eyes makes the reason and mission behind the run and Work real. I could see what Work has done to help them provide for their families and to provide them with the knowledge to sustain and create their own living.

I admire all of our Haitian community members for their drive and love for their community and their country. Many of the locals on the crew are educated and skilled and have a choice to leave the country, but they choose to remain. Instead of fleeing from poverty they are making a choice to stay and reinvest in their community because of the love and commitment they have for their people and their country. The country has so much potential and so much to offer and the people are so hardworking and willing to do what is necessary to provide for those they love. They are doing what they can to survive. They are doing what I fear I may not have had the courage to do. Coming from a country where we are given and expect so much to a country that isn’t given any support and a people that are not expectant, but hustle as much as they can to live their lives has definitely changed my perspective.

The Haitian resilience is beyond anything I have ever seen and I am so grateful to be a witness and a part of this family. They are the reason and the why for this run and will take me all the way to Jacmel.


Day 2

Today we traveled from Plaisance to D’Ennery. I was still running on the emotions from yesterday and was excited to see another part of this beautiful country. We started at 0500 Haitian time and headed up the mountain. The top of the mountain was 7 miles at a gradual grade and was breathtaking. The vistas were phenomenal and the marine layer between the mountains were unlike anything I have seen. Some of the locals came out and watched us run by probably wondering what we were doing running up this mountain for fun. Quickly their faces changed from bewilderment to a smile with a simple, “Bonjour,” which is basically the only word I truly feel comfortable with in Creole.

We reached the 10k aid station and there is something about hearing the screaming from the truck that really gets you moving. The crew is the best! Between giving out pumps of sanitizer, filling water bottles, dishing out Pringles, providing first aid, and offering high fives.

The last 4-5 miles were all downhill and the weather was perfect, overcast and cool. When we approached D’Ennery there was a split in the road and with the moto traffic I thought I was lost for a minute and was about to turn around. Luckily for me, Ed came to save the day. He guided me through the market and we went in side by side. Me on my feet and him on his bike. The shouts and cheers at the finish line can easily move you to tears when you can truly comprehend the support we have for one another. The runners and the crew start at the same time and break in to groups that are always changing and because of that we are learning about each other and the reasons we are here and what Haiti is all about. The repeat theme through the past two days is that we are a team and we are in this together as an organization and as a country. We run together, experience the country together, suffer together, and rejoice together.