Spring Break Trips

HAITI: Sustainable Development Immersion

DATES: Saturday, March 10 - Sunday, March 18

LEAD TRIP CHAPERONE: Jennifer LaForest - jlaforest@misshalls.org

IN COUNTRY PARTNER: Vermont Haiti Project

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. What it lacks in resources, it more than abounds with culture. Students will experience daily life in Haiti. They will learn about its history, experience Haitian food, storytelling, and craft making. They will work alongside Haitians to improve and develop their villages. They will see all the beauty that is Haiti, from the crowded capital to the beach, to the area decimated by Hurricane Matthew. What they will see is the resilience of the Haitian people, a people with very few resources to begin with and, when disaster strikes, they have even less, if that is possible. But through it all, they smile, they pick up, and they go on.  It is one of the most powerful lessons for a young person to learn.

Students will have their leadership skills enhanced as they assume responsibility for leading groups at an orphanage, through vocational computer classes and while sharing their ideas in local art and music classes. They will learn about the Haitian culture and be able to share this with others when they return. The Haitian people have a way of getting even the shyest of students to open up. They will learn to cook a Haitian meal. Students return from Haiti completely changed by the experience, remaining connected and inspired to return to Haiti, again and again. 



Jennifer LaForest

Alison Basdekis
Chair of the MHS Trip Committee


List of 11 items.

  • Detailed (Tentative) Trip Itinerary

    March 10th
    Bradley Airport to Port au Prince
    (flight will be early, most likely around 6:30 a.m.)
    Day 1- Arrive PauP, Greet at airport by our host, Despagne Felix, transport to Tchaka Inn- our host family's guesthouse.
    -Settle in, introductions, orientation
    -Learn about Biosand water filters
    -Evening- dinner, Creole 101, Q&A
    March 11th
    Port au Prince
    Day 2- Breakfast, Intro to Haitian culture by our hosts, Creole 101
    -Visit National History Museum, visit historic Hotel Oloffson, voudou art
    -Visit market for travel supplies- snacks etc.
    -Dinner, Creole 101, day's reflection
    March 12th
    Port au Prince to Duchity
    Day 3- Breakfast, pack
    -Travel day to Duchity, visit the Dous Macoss factory (milk candy), tour of Les Cayes (port city)
    -Arrive Duchy afternoon, settle into accommodations at the EVJDF vocational school/ VHP center, introductions
    -Dinner, reflection on day's scenery/events, Q&A, Creole 101
    March 13th
    Day 4- Breakfast, more introductions, tour of the school and center
    -Intro to Duchity including history with local historian
    -Walking tour of Duchity village (in small groups w/translator) - primary school/s and high school, and clinic visit
    -Visit one or two of the disaster resistant dome/shelters (project started fall 2016 vocational school with VHP)
    -Discussion of rural vs urban Haitian culture, compare/contrast with US
    -Afternoon visit to local orphanage, games, art activity
    -Evening- dinner, practice Creole with local students and English conversation, assist with voc school computer class
    March 14th
    Day 5- Breakfast, local arts classes - basket making, jewelry making, (and exchange of U.S. students' arts/crafts? an idea...)
    -Afternoon walk to local botanical garden and learn about (and taste)indigenous plants and their uses- fruits, nuts, etc.
    -Dinner, Creole/English conversational exchange, reflection
    -Evening - assist with voc school computer class
    March 15th
    Day 6- Breakfast, meal planning with our cooks
    -Market day - visit local market in small groups w/translators-observe local vendors/commodities, purchase food for dinner
    -learn about local economy
    -Walk/hike with local herbalist to visit his 'garden' and learn about traditional healing
    -Combine this with visiting the village water source
    -Assist with meal prep and learn to cook Haitian meal
    -Farewell dinner, local musical talent combined with U.S. students musical talents, singing, etc.
    March 16th
    Duchity to Port au Prince
    Day 7- Breakfast, pack
    -Travel day back to PauP, visit beach for swimming
    -Arrive Tchaka Inn late afternoon
    -Dinner, reflection, stories by our host
    March 17th
    Port au Prince
    Day 8- Breakfast-simple, then assist and learn to make traditional Haitian 'soup joumou'
    -Tchaka Bag business demonstration from our hostess, Polene Felix
    -Visit Apparent Project - see and learn about many Haitian hand crafts (shopping if desired)
    -Visit Boutilier Observatory for sunset overlook of PauP and the bay
    -Dinner, wrap-up, reflection, goodbyes
    March 18th
    Port au Prince to Bradley airport
    Day 9- Breakfast, departure
  • Minimum number of MHS students for the trip to run

    6. Maximum number of students is 10, the cost does not change regardless of the number of students.
  • Housing/Accommodations

    Housing and three meals a day will be provided by the Tchaka Inn in Port au Prince, which has full-time security. In Duchity, housing will be in the dormitory that has been built in the village for groups to use. 
  • Transportation

    We will leave from Bradley International Airport and have a short layover in Miami before going on to Port au Prince, Haiti. Travel to Bradley to be determined. 
  • Costs payable to MHS

    Total cost per student: $1200
  • Insurance

    The cost of the trip includes trip cancellation insurance and limited emergency medical coverage through Roamright, an international travel insurance company. Detailed materials will be sent to all families.
  • Timeline of Payments

    • Payment #1 (October 13, 2017) families would need to make the first non-refundable* payment of $500
    • Payment #2  (November 13, 2017)Non-refundable* payment of $500.
    • Payment #3  (December 13, 2017) Non-refundable* payment of $200
  • This fee includes

    • All meals and accommodations
    • Airfare
    • Cancellation and emergency medical insurance
  • What is NOT included

    • Special travel arrangements: If your child will not be flying with us to Haiti or you plan to have your child fly back from another destination, these arrangements need to be made by you and cannot interrupt the trip itinerary.
    • Visas (if required)
    • Any fees that might be imposed by the airlines at the airport for checked baggage
    • It is recommended that students bring additional money to use for personal expenses, souvenirs, etc., food at the airports ($100)
  • Required reading

    Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. It is the story of Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who has made more difference in Haiti with sustainable development in the past 30 years than any other person or organization. It gives a detailed picture of what life in Haiti is like and an invaluable introduction to the Haitian people. 
  • Application

    A required written application is required. Download the application here
492 Holmes Road • Pittsfield, MA 01201  (413) 443-6401

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Located in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Miss Hall's School is an all girls private, college preparatory boarding and day high school for grades 9-12.
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