Haiti trip leaves lasting impression on Flagler student

By Katherine Brock | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Over the summer, Mallory Ward left home expecting to impact the lives of Haitian orphans, but little did she know they would leave such an impression on her.

Ward spent a week working in the Holt Fontana Village, playing with the children and working around the grounds.

“For once I didn’t care about the messiness of the job. I just wanted to get it done and help the village,” Ward said. “It was a first for me with every task, I had never used a pick ax, and trust me, it was noticeable too.”

Her team planted 60 trees around the village. All the trees will provide something beneficial for the village, mostly fruits and shade. They planted a variety of trees including mango trees, orange trees, lime trees and cherry trees.

“Planting the trees was nothing. Though, I ended up having the lovely opportunity to be a part of the messiest job of all: cleaning the shed,” Ward said. “The shed was full of a family of rats – dead and alive. The funny thing about that task was, yes, we may have screamed when we saw a rat, but none of us ever complained.”

Although Ward put in lots of physical labor, what impacted her the most was her time spent with the children. Without the ability to hold a conversation with the children, showing the children love through actions was the way to go.

“In Haiti, I learned the cultural impact of something as simple as a smile. There was no better way to communicate with the children than smiling at them, or laughing, dancing or singing,” Ward said. “They may not understand what we said, but we still connected.”

Although the team of 12 worked hard to make a connection with the children, Ward had a slight advantage. Being an aspiring photographer, she brought her camera everywhere she went. She would take a picture of a little boy or girl and then show them their faces on her camera screen. The children were delighted when they saw themselves. Ward explained that it took one click of a button to form a relationship with the children. This is a feeling she will never forget.

Ward quickly realized that even though she knew she would be working to put a smile on a child’s face, she didn’t realize how much of an impact it would have on her life. Through this trip, Ward’s heart and future has changed.

“Never did I think I would be one to go on a mission trip but after Haiti, that’s all I want to do. I want to travel and take pictures of children all around the world,” Ward said.

Not only did the trip change Ward’s heart and future, it also gave her a different viewpoint on life.

“People here are always so tied up in what they don’t have and what more of something they need, never satisfied,” Ward said. “The Haitians are satisfied even if they have a cloth as a roof. They have gone through so much, seen so much and it broke my heart.”

The people Ward interacted with have a special place in her heart.

“Every child at that orphanage has my heart. I think about them all the time, and I’m so thankful I have the pictures to look back on, remembering my experience.” Ward said. “God did an amazing thing in all of our hearts.”

Traveling the world for the adventure is one thing – traveling the world to make a lasting impact, or allowing it to impact you, is a whole other story.

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