And that’s the end of that chapter – as of May, I’ve completed my six-month internship with ISCA in Terrier Rouge, Haiti. It’s strange to look back and realize just how quickly half a year flies by, and at the same time just how much you can accomplish and learn about yourself, Haiti, jam, chickens, and development in that period.
I learned that you always, always need to have a Plan B – you can prepare for activities like carrying out field visits, capacity building sessions and buying materials, but there will be circumstances out of your control that will delay your work. In Haiti, most of that involved political demonstrations that made it unsafe to go out on the streets at times, the unreliable internet connection, and the rise in the cost of goods and services due to inflation and the fluctuating exchange rates.
I learned that respect is a universal language – that is, treat others with respect and people will appreciate it and return the favour wherever you are in the world. Even through language and cultural barriers, I was able to form meaningful connections with Haitians who welcomed me into their country with open arms, for which I’ve been incredibly grateful.
I learned that international development work is what I want to be doing with my life. It has its share of challenges and frustrations, sometimes leaving me feeling hopeless about the countless obstacles to poverty reduction that no one person can seemingly address. But having seen the positive difference that ISCA’s livelihoods project has made for many families here, it reminds me that development work can have a genuine purpose and impact.
It’s been an honour to work with the families as they moved along their journey to become successful poultry entrepreneurs throughout the past six months. While my contract has finished, I’m looking forward to staying updated on the project’s progress and helping ISCA out whenever I can. I’m also hoping to make it back to Haiti one day so I can explore the rest of the country – it may look small on the world map, but it’s sure filled with rich and diverse foods, sceneries, and cultures.
Mèsi anpil Haiti for all the memories and experiences that I’ll never forget, and may the project participants continue to have great success with their chickens
Isabelle Kim was an intern with ISCA-AIDC throuogh Global Affairs Canada IYIP Program