Scholarship Update and.... Back to Haiti?

Some of you may know that I decided to start a scholarship for a Haitian student to study at the University of Portland and miraculously found a donor to help me fund it (worth over $160,000! Can you say generous?!?!), and I've been working since returning from Haiti to connect the powers that be at UP with the student on the ground in Haiti who is applying to study there, and we received word recently that he is provisionally accepted! He just has to pass the TOEFL in May and then work towards getting his visa.

I'm excited about this possibility becoming reality and am very confident and proud about the recipient we chose.  But during a process like this, especially as it becomes closer to culminating in an actual Haitian person stepping foot on The Bluff, a million questions enter my mind and (unfortunately) have decided to keep me awake recently.  I wonder about him fitting in, how he's going to afford to get here (fundraising for his airline tickets, medical insurance, books, and basic living expenses on top of what the scholarship covers for room and board will be another effort I will have only a short time to take on), who will pick him up at the airport, how he will call home, how he will transfer money from Haiti, how he will choose his classes, etc etc etc.

But my tossing and turning the past few days have finally culminated in somewhat of a decision...I've decided that if he passes the TOEFL and does, in fact, need to fly to Portland at the end of August to start school, I'm going to spend my 2-week vacation at the end of August by flying to Haiti to spend some time volunteering and then fly back with him to Portland to get him settled into school and into American life by helping him do the essential things like open a bank account, learn the bus system, etc.

It's a big decision to give up that 2 weeks that I had thought about using for a trip to Paris or to spend with my family in McCall for our family reunion, but I can't think of anything else that would be a better use of my time than revisiting Haiti, using my newly formed pediatric rehabilitation skills at the St. Germaine rehab center, and helping my new scholar get through customs and settled into his new life at the University of Portland.  Here's praying and hoping that he prepares well for his exam, that we can fundraise enough to cover his extra costs, and that the U.S. government doesn't shut down before he can get a visa!

My third trip to Haiti will hinge upon all of these very tentative things, but I'm excited to be thinking about heading back much sooner than I had anticipated.


  1. Rachel, I looooove reading your blog posts. You are so inspiring and I am so excited for everything, as tentative as it all may be. Keep up the work and God bless.


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