Students Help Rebuild Haiti

By Caitlin Graveson '11

Photo courtesy of Shawny Anderson

Summer Session at Saint Mary's was enhanced this year with a volunteer trip that allowed students the chance to live out the College's Lasallian principles. This summer, 11 students and two professors traveled to Haiti to assist with earthquake relief efforts. The group worked with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti from July 15 through Aug. 6 to improve living conditions for local families.

The group started in Les Cayes, Haiti's third-largest city, to assist with rebuilding projects, then went to Port-au-Prince. In Les Cayes they worked on a number of projects, including building a double home from the ground up, starting with fabricating bricks from concrete. 

In addition, the group taught English classes to children, expanded and rebuilt temporary relief shelters for earthquake victims, painted classrooms, witnessed a wedding and played a competitive soccer match against locals.

The professors who led the course are also offering a 2011 Jan Term course for relief work in Haiti. They are Shawny Anderson, who has taken SMC students many times to New Orleans for relief work in the five years since Hurricane Katrina, and Claude-Rheal Malary, who is from Haiti.