The Chevy Chase community's commitment to helping victims of the Haitian earthquake continues, stronger than ever.
Town of Somerset resident Lauren Rubenstein, who traveled to Haiti twice in the past year (last summer and this past winter, Patch reported) to teach yoga to some of the kids living in the tent cities, has been working to organize a group of community members to travel to Haiti this July to build a home for a family living in a tent since January 2010.
At 4 years old, Michelda has lived in a tent for half of her life, and her baby brother has only known the tent as his home. Rubenstein has been sponsoring Michelda, but a home for Michelda and her family costs $4,000 to build.
So, Rubenstein turned to the community for help, and, thanks to several fundraisers—in particular, a girl scout troop's bake sale—the money is ready.
Now, only the volunteers to build the home are needed.
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To help build a house for Michelda and her family, join Rubenstein and her group on a service trip to Haiti, July 11 through 18. The cost of the trip is $400, plus airfare, and the trip will be organized through Partners In Development, which hosts over a dozen trips each year to Haiti and Guatemala. The price of the trip includes all food, lodging, drinking water, local transportation, medical travel insurance, general supplies (first aid supplies, etc.), one cultural excursion and a donation to the project, according to Partners In Development's website.
No experience in building homes is necessary to participate in the trip, but volunteers will spend most of the day on the construction site. Children ages 13 to 17 must be accompanied by a parent.
Members of the service group will stay in a guesthouse on a secure, gated property, and will sleep in bunk beds and share the bunkhouse with other volunteers. Five-minute, cold-water showers will be available, according to Partners In Development's website.
Meals are simple on the service trip: coffee, cereal, milk and fruit for breakfast (pancakes and eggs on the weekends); peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch; and American (i.e., spaghetti) or Haitian (i.e., chicken with rice and beans) dinners. Volunteers with dietary concerns and food allergies are advised to bring their own foods, as special menus are not served, according to Partners In Development's website.
In the evenings, Partners In Development hosts meetings discussing Haiti's history, local statistics and global poverty. Haitian Creole lessons are often available, according to a flier Rubenstein provided to Patch.