Paul & Jewel Studios » fine art photography & graphic design

haiti volunteer trip – christmas 2013

I am so, SO excited to share my Haiti experience! This December Paul and I spent a week with Paul’s parents and a wonderful team of volunteers supporting Village of Hope Haiti. People from all over the U.S. (including some of my fantastic girlfriends!) donated Christmas gifts and supplies for the children, and our team had the honor to transport, prepare and deliver the Christmas gifts to 600+ students who would not otherwise receive any gifts.

When I was first getting to know Paul a few years ago I fell in love with him for many reasons and in many moments. One of those moments was hearing him talk about his previous experience in Haiti. His blue eyes lit up with joy when he talked about the children at Village of Hope. How could a girl resist? After we got married, we spent six crazy months volunteering at an orphanage in Thailand. But finally going to Haiti and having the joyous light reignited there was so special. I will always admire the Maree Family’s incredible heart for Haiti and am so thankful that they have shared it with me.

This trip actually inspired us to start seriously researching adoption! Its something that we have always wanted to do and we will be doing some soul searching to figure out what our best adoption path might be. From what I can tell, younger couples like us are not allowed to adopt from Haiti, but there are so many international and domestic options to explore. We are very excited to begin the journey and would absolutely love to hear from anyone with adoption/foster knowledge/experience/contacts/resources to help us begin!!!

I usually don’t post so many photographs, but there is just so much beauty and cuteness to share! I hope you enjoy these photos and that the children’s sweet faces will bring you joy and inspiration.

To start off, here are some scenes of beautiful Haiti.

1-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1816_WEB 4-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-2092_WEB 5-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1800_WEB This is Hope House, where we stayed and spent the first couple of days working to assemble and organize all of the Christmas present bags!
6-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1671_WEB This set of photographs was taken at Little Children of Jesus, an orphanage for children with special needs. LCJ is run by Food for the Poor and Village of Hope provides some financial assistance. Connecting with these beautiful, loving kids was the most meaningful part of the trip for me. 10-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1689_WEB 12-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1734_WEB The girls loved C who is currently living in Haiti with her family. 15-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1724_WEB 17-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1761_WEB The girls also loved me and my sunglasses! 18-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1751_WEB 20-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1779_WEB This set of photos is from an afternoon spent at the Village of Hope School.
23-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1991_WEB We got to attend the Kindergartner’s wonderful afternoon assembly and distract them!  25-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1862_WEB We got to see the school lunch hall and the children enjoying the colorful frisbee plates of rice and beans.
31-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1974_WEB Many of the kids wanted their pictures taken and would swarm around Paul and me waiting for a turn!  33-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-2000_WEB Of course, Paul and I had to grab some photos with the cuties, too!  36-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-2034_WEB 37-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-2021_WEB We also delivered gift bags to all of the wonderful Health Center staff members 41-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-1902_WEB For our last day in Haiti, we returned to the school for a special Christmas celebration! The children performed songs and dances for us and we also performed some carols for them. Then we spent the rest of the day helping Papa Noel (Santa) deliver the unique gift bags to each grade of boys and girls. It was so amazing to share in the children’s joy and excitement.  43-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-2313_WEB 49-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-2191_WEB 50-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-2370_WEB 56-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-2347_WEB 58-Haiti-VillageofHope-JewelMaree-2240_WEB

Paul & Jewel Studios - Thank you, Joyce! We did work hard and have fun!

Joyce Carroll - Thank you so much for sharing!! They are all wonderful. We did have fun, even though working for the children was the best part.

Lisa Myers - Such amazing photos! I particularly liked the colorful frisbee shots (I brought down a case of them for the 2012 trip). Thanks for sharing and bringing me back!

Kathy Davis Nice - Love you pictures and words. Prayers are with both Paul & Jewel as you consider adoption. : )

Gwyn Horner - I am so glad you shared these pics. They are so professional and reveal the real experience.

Tracy Kinsland Dixon - Gorgeous pictures!!! Great job!

Alayha McNamara - Wow Jewel these photos are incredible! Thank you.

Paul & Jewel Studios - Thank you, Ellie! I’m glad you enjoyed them!

Ellie Aubel - Thanks so much for sharing!! I missed being with you all. Everything looked so so familiar, including some of the children. I enjoyed your pictures very much! Ellie

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