Before I begin my post, I want to educate you a little bit on an organization called Be Like Brit. This is the synopsis of the group and Brittney on their webpage:
In many ways she was a typical teenage girl but her humor, passion and deep sense of caring for those less unfortunate made Britney Gengel memorable to all who met her. It was her compassion for others that brought Brit to Haiti, just a day before a catastrophic earthquake that claimed an estimated 230,000 lives rocked the small, poverty stricken country. Britney had spent the day visiting a Haitian orphanage where she and fellow students from Lynn University, on a Journey of Hope, met the small Haitian orphans they had traveled so far to help. Just a few hours later, Britney, three of her fellow students and two Lynn professors were dead, crushed in the rubble of their hotel. Britney was 19. Her body was recovered 33 days later.
But Britney's dream did not die with her. Shortly before the quake, she had sent an text message to her family. "They love us so much and everyone is so happy. They love what they have and they work so hard to get nowhere, yet they are all so appreciative. I want to move here and start an orphanage myself."
In Britney's memory, her family has established the Be Like Brit Foundation, dedicated to serving the children of Haiti by establishing a safe, nurturing and sustainable orphanage where the poorest of the poor can grow, learn and thrive. Your donation can help keep Brit's spirit alive and bring hope to the thousands of Haitian orphans she wanted to help.
They broke ground yesterday.
Clearly I have never been to Haiti and I don't know Brittney but as I read her story and watched the video, I was overcome with an urge to go back to Belize.
More back story: When I was little I thought I was going to live in Africa or Indonesia and work as a teacher and save the world, yep, definitely where I am in life... :/ However, in college I was offered the opportunity to do just that and I couldn't resist. I ended up in Belize with the most amazing group of friends and students I have ever met.
We worked at the Angelican School both teaching and constructing an outdoor eating pavilion so that the students had a place to eat that was not covered in mud during the rainy season. One day, after laying cement all morning, one of the supervising teachers brought out a tray of watermelon. My friend Lindsey and I sat there eating watermelon, in Belize, with kids poking my skin because it changed colors (I was sun burnt) and there are very few moments in my life where everything seemed to make sense the way it did there. Whenever I am sad or feel like things aren't the way they're supposed to be, I think of that day. I think of my little guy Treyvaughn who was very close to being put into my suitcase and being smuggled back into the US, I think about the chalk we played with and how overjoyed they were that we brought them pencils and markers and I realize that's what I want to do with my life forever. I may not be able to travel the world now that I have a family of my own growing but I can live to make a child smile.
A year after I went to Belize, another group of of students went back. The chaperone from my trip went again and he sent me a video of a little boy named Treyvaughn. Every time I need to smile, I click on the video which is saved to my desktop and I relive that week over and over again.