Haiti is not a country you expect many people to pine for, but Hope Bechard leaves a piece of herself back there every time she leaves.
The Kitimat nurse has done overseas volunteer trips since she was 18, starting in the Dominican Republic.
She turned her sights to Haiti after the country was hit with a devastating earthquake.
“When the earthquake hit Haiti I just felt the need I had to go,” said Bechard.
The program they’re using to go to Haiti is called Hands Up for Haiti, and Bechard said she recently became the Canadian representative on their board, based in New York.
For this latest trip, the third with Hands Up but the fifth overall to Haiti, she has recruited fellow nurse Amanda Slanina.
Bechard said she’ll do a nine week stay in Haiti, and Slanina will do five.
They’ll head to Haiti in October.
But not before they’ve raised money to help with their trip. Each of their trips will run up roughly $2,400 to $4,000. That’s dependant on how long the trip is and how much they bring with them as far as medical supplies.
The two are looking for help to get them on their way.
The easiest way to donate is to give money to a special account at the Envision Credit Union. People can ask to donate to the Hope and Amanda Haiti Fund, and tax receipts can be given for donations over $20.
Bechard said she’ll also collect people’s empties as well. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange that.
“To me, Haiti is not what is portrayed in the media,” said Bechard. “Haiti is mountains and it’s beautiful ocean waters and the people there are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. They’re very resilient.”
She added, “It’s one of those places where I fly in…[and] you get this great feeling. It’s like my second home.”
For Slanina, this trip is one she said her father always had wanted to take so she couldn’t say no.
“I’ve wanted to do something like this, and now the opportunity came up. And there is huge need there.”